Mechanisms of Adrenocortical Depression During Escherichia coli Shock

Richard D. Catalano, Venkateswaran Parameswaran, Janakiraman Ramachandran, Donald D. Trunkey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Scopus citations


    • The response of the adrenal cortex to corticotropin during sepsis is variable. We have previously demonstrated a significant decrease of corticosterone production by rat adrenocortical cells in response to corticotropin stimulation after incubation with septic shock plasma (SP) as compared with control plasma (CP). We have studied the mechanisms of this depression. The following defects were demonstrated. (1) Cells bound less radioiodinated corticotropin analog after SP treatment (2.9±0.4 femtomoles/50 μg DNA) than after CP treatment (6.4±0.3 fmole/50 μg DNA). (2) Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) production was less after SP treatment (59.3 ± 4 pmole per 105 cells per two hours) compared with CP treatment (110.3±11.3 pmole per 105 cells per two hours). (3) Exogenously added dibutyryl cAMP was unable to correct the defect in corticosterone production after SP treatment (4.96±0.7 μg/24 hr) as compared with CP treatment (6.99±0.5 μg/24 hr). Our studies suggest this defect is located in the synthesis of pregnenolone from cholesterol. These mechanisms may be responsible for the low cortisol levels previously observed in humans during septic shock. (Arch Surg 1984;119:145-150).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)145-150
    Number of pages6
    JournalArchives of Surgery
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 1984

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery


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