Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)


Plasma ACTH (adrenocorticotropin or corticotropin) is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. Its biological function is to stimulate cortisol secretion. Analysis of ACTH is used as an indicator of pituitary function and is useful in the differential diagnosis of the following:

Note that ACTH secretion is pulsatile and also shows a diurnal variation, with the plasma concentrations being highest at ~0800 hours and lowest at midnight. The secretion of ACTH is increased by stress.

The immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) by Nichols Institute Diagnostics measures ACTH in human plasma, by detecting the gamma radiation emitted by the 125I radiolabelled anti-ACTH antibody.

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ACTH Key

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© 1996 University of Glasgow.

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