A possible association between aldosterone response to vasopressin and circadian change of aldosterone in the patients with aldosterone-producing adenoma

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Vasopressin was reported to stimulate secretion of both cortisol and aldosterone through eutopic V1a receptors in adrenal gland. Recently, adrenal hyper-responsiveness of plasma cortisol to vasopressin with eutopic overexpession of V1a receptors has been reported in Cushing’s syndrome, such as a majority of cases of ACTH-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia and some cases of Cushing’s adenomas. There were a few reports regarding the aldosterone response to vasopressin in aldosterone-producing adenoma. The aim of our study was to investigate the aldosterone response to vasopressin and its pathophysiological roles in the patients with aldosterone-producing adenoma. Vasopressin-loading test was performed in 10 patients with aldosterone-producing adenoma, and in 16 patients with non-functioning adrenal tumors. The roles of the aldosterone response to vasopressin were analyzed in terms of hormonal secretion and the expression of V1a receptor mRNA on the operated adrenal gland in aldosterone-producing adenoma. We found that (1) a varying aldosterone response to vasopressin was observed, (2) absolute response of plasma aldosterone in aldosterone-producing adenoma was significantly higher than that in non-functioning tumor, (3) aldosterone response rate to vasopressin was significantly and negatively correlated with the decline rate (%) in plasma aldosterone from morning to evening in aldosterone-producing adenoma, (4) V1a receptor mRNA was expressed at various values in aldosterone-producing adenoma, and (5) surgical removal of aldosterone-producing adenoma eliminated the aldosterone response to vasopressin observed in patients with aldosterone-producing adenoma. These findings indicated that vasopressin might be involved in the coordination of aldosterone secretion through eutopic expression of V1a receptor in aldosterone-producing adenoma.

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