The endocrinological, surgical, and histological findings of patients with ACTH-dependent Cushing’s disease were correlated with the pulsatile secretion pattern of ACTH and cortisol and the outcome after transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. A total of 28 patients were studied. The preoperative pulsatile secretion of ACTH and cortisol was assessed by sampling blood at 20-min intervals over 24 h. The pulsatile pattern of secretion was analyzed by the Cluster program. In 21 patients, an ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma was identified and resected. Of these patients, 18 underwent clinical remission, and their cortisol secretion was suppressed to a normal level by low dose dexamethasone. Histological examinations in the patients with persistent disease revealed normal pituitary in 6 cases, nodular hyperplasia in 1, and ACTHsecreting pituitary adenoma in 3 cases. Analysis of the pulsatile pattern of ACTH and cortisol secretion did not reveal significant differences in timing, frequency, and/or amplitude of ACTH and cortisol pulses in normalized patients and those with persistent disease after surgery. It is concluded that analysis of the secretory pattern is not a suitable method for predicting the outcome of tra&phenoidal surgery in patients with ACTH-dependent Cushing’s disease.
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