Abbreviation for: Adrenocorticotropic hormone
Synonym: corticotropin, corticotropic hormone, adrenocorticotropin
ACTH is generated in the basophilic cells of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland under the influence of the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) from the hypothalamus. It stimulates the adrenal cortex to synthesize glucocorticoids, and exerts an indirect influence on the production of insulin. The secretion of ACTH is subject to a circadian rhythm, its concentration in the morning is significantly higher than in the evening.
The production or secretion of ACTH can be impaired in various diseases.
Elevated ACTH values result eg. from cold, stress, adrenal insufficiency, Cushing's disease and paraneoplastic syndrome, reduced levels from Sheehan's syndrome or tumors of the pituitary gland.
An ACTH deficiency leads to atrophy of the adrenal cortex.
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