Octreotide exerts different effects in vivo and in vitro in Cushing's disease

in European Journal of Endocrinology
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Stalla GK, Brockmeier SJ, Renner U, Newton C, Buchfelder M, Stalla J, Müller OA. Octreotide exerts different effects in vivo and in vitro in Cushing's disease. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;130:125–31. ISSN 0804–4643

The effect of the long-acting somatostatin analog octreotide (SMS 201-995) on adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) secretion was studied in five patients with untreated Cushing's disease in vivo and in six human corticotropic adenoma cell cultures in vitro. For the in vivo study, 100 μg of octreotide sc was given 30 and 180 min after cannulation of the cubital vein and 100 μg of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) was injected iv at 210 min. Serum ACTH and cortisol levels were measured for 390 min. In vivo, octreotide had no significant effect either on basal or CRH-stimulated ACTH levels and did not influence cortisol levels. The in vitro studies were conducted with corticotropic adenoma cell cultures derived from adenoma tissue obtained from six patients with Cushing's disease. In four of six cell cultures, octreotide (1 nmol/l–1 μmol/l) inhibited basal ACTH secretion in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibition ranged from 70 to 92% for 1 nmol/l octreotide to 14–46% for 1 μmol/l octreotide as compared to controls (100%). In three of three octreotide-responsive adenoma cell cultures investigated, CRH-stimulated ACTH secretion was suppressed by octreotide. Hydrocortisone pretreatment in vitro abolished the inhibitory effect of octreotide on ACTH secretion in one octreotide-responsive corticotropic adenoma cell culture. In conclusion, we showed that octreotide in most cases could inhibit the ACTH release from human corticotropic adenoma cells in vitro but had no suppressive effect on ACTH levels of patients with Cushing's disease in vivo. This discrepancy could be due to a somatostatin receptor down-regulation by cortisol at the hypercortisolemic state in vivo.

Günter K Stalla, Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Clinical Institute, Kraepelinstr. 10, D-80804 Munich, Germany


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