Response of plasma ACTH and adrenocortical hormones to potassium loading in essential hypertension.

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The effect of potassium loading on plasma adrenocortical hormones concentrations in 9 patients with essential hypertension (EH) was investigated. The plasma renin activity (PRA), plasma concentrations of growth hormone (GH), ACTH, cortisol, deoxycorticosterone (DOC), 18-hydroxy-deoxycorticosterone (18-OH-DOC) and aldosterone, and serum electrolytes were measured before and after potassium chloride (KCl) infusion (0.33 mEq/kg/h, for one hour). The KCl infusion caused significant increases in serum potassium levels and plasma levels of GH, ACTH, cortisol, DOC, 18-OH-DOC and aldosterone, while PRA remained unchanged. Regression analysis at 30 min revealed significant positive correlations between c ΔACTH and Δcortisol, between ΔACTH and ΔDOC, between ΔACTH and Δ18-OH-DOC. However, the relationship between ΔACTH and Δaldosterone was not statistically significant. These results suggest that (1) acute potassium loading causes a significant increase in the plasma ACTH level and increased levels of adrenocortical hormones may be produced by increased ACTH secretion, and (2) it may be considered that a part of the increased level of plasma aldosterone following acute potassium loading may arise from increased ACTH secretion in EH.


  • Japanese Circulation Journal

    Japanese Circulation Journal 46(4), 317-322, 1982

    The Japanese Circulation Society


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