Human corticotropin-releasing factor in man: Pharmacokinetic properties and dose-response of plasma adrenocorticotropin and cortisol secretion

T. H. Schürmeyer, P. C. Avgerinos, P. W. Gold, W. T. Gallucci, T. P. Tomai, G. B. Cutler, D. L. Loriaux, G. P. Chrousos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Scopus citations


The responses of plasma immunoreactive ACTH (IR-ACTH), cortisol, GH, PRL, and LH to a single iv injection of 0.01-5 μg/kg human corticotropin-releasing factor (hCRF) were investigated in healthy volunteers. The lowest effective dose of hCRF was 0.5 μg/kg. hCRF caused brief pulselike elevations of plasma IR-ACTH and cortisol without any effect on the plasma concentrations of GH, PRL, and LH. By contrast, ovine CRF (oCRF), given for comparison, produced long-lasting stimulation of the human pituitary-adrenal axis. The difference in duration of effect between hCRF and oCRF may be attributed to an approximately 3-4 times higher MCR of hCRF [7.9 ± 1.2 (±SE) ml/kg min; n = 14] than oCRF (1.9 ± 0.1 ml/kg min; n = 9) in man. No serious side effects occurred at any of the doses of hCRF tested. The highest dose (5 μg/kg) caused a slight increase of heart rate that was not associated with significant changes in arterial blood pressure. All subjects receiving 5 μg/kg and one third of the subjects receiving 1 μg/kg hCRF experienced a transient facial flush. We conclude that hCRF causes brief plasma ACTH and cortisol secretory episodes in man, similar to the physiological plasma ACTH and cortisol secretory episodes. This is in contrast to oCRF, which causes prolonged ACTH and cortisol secretion. These differences between the two peptides may be explained by the higher MCR of hCRF than oCRF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1984


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

Cite this