Epinephrine (E) and norepinephrine (NE) levels were measured simultaneously in the adrenal veins of 6 patients before and after stimulation with 0.25 mg β1-24 ACTH. In 1 patient with Cushing’s syndrome, E and NE were also measured before and 30 min after dexamethasone. There was a significant increase in NE and E secretion (p < 0.002) from both adrenal glands after ACTH stimulation. In the patient with Cushing’s syndrome, there was also a slight increase in plasma E levels after dexamethasone. It is postulated that ACTH stimulated NE and E secretion by augmenting blood flow through the adrenals and by induction of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine β-hydroxylase, although a direct effect of ACTH on NE and E secretion cannot be excluded. It is also possible that the increase in adrenal catecholamine secretion after ACTH may be due to ACTH augmentation of catecholamine secretion by endogenous opioids such as β-endorphin.

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