The presence of three regulatory peptides, corticotropin-releasing hormone, neuropeptide Y and endothelin-1, was studied by radioimmunoassay in the tumor tissue of an ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoid. A 36-year-old female was admitted to hospital because of moon face, central obesity and hypertension. High levels of plasma ACTH and cortisol and urinary 17-OHCS and 17-KS were found. One mg dexamethasone did not suppress plasma ACTH and cortisol levels, but 8 mg did so slightly. Corticotroprin-releasing hormone (100 μg, iv) stimulated plasma ACTH levels (0 min: 34.8 pmol/l; 30 min; 41.1 pmol/l). The computerized tomography showed the presence of a tumor in the right lung. This lung tumor was removed surgically and has been shown by microscopical examination to be a bronchial carcinoid with ACTh-positive cells. The tumor tissue concentrations of corticotropin-releasing hormone, neuropeptide Y and endothelin-1 were 3.34 pmol/g wet weight, 8.07 pmol/g wet weight and 0.92 pmol/g wet weight, respectively, although plasma concentrations of these three peptides were not elevated. Reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography showed that immunoreactive peptides in the tumor tissue were mainly eluted in the position of the standard peptides. These findings indicate that this case of ACTH-secreting bronchial carcinoid had high levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, neuropeptide Y and endothelin-1 in its tumor tissue and suggested that these peptides may act locally, in a paracrine or autocrine manner, in the tumor.
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