BACKGROUND: The hypotensive peptide adrenomedullin was first isolated in extracts of human pheochromocytoma. There is, however, no information available on the behaviour of circulating adrenomedullin or on the correlation with catecholamines in patients with pheochromocytoma. OBJECTIVES: 1) to investigate whether plasma adrenomedullin levels were changed in 10 patients with pheochromocytoma when compared to 21 healthy subjects and 16 patients with essential hypertension; 2) to determine whether or not adrenomedullin has a counter-regulatory role in catecholamine excess in pheochromocytoma or is responsible for hemodynamic modifications before and after tumour resection; 3) to determine tissue distribution of iradrenomedullin in the pheochromocytoma. METHODS: Plasma adrenomedullin and catecholamine levels were measured in all patients with pheochromocytoma before and four weeks after tumour removal. In the four patients undergoing resection of tumours, plasma levels of adrenomedullin were measured at different time-points during surgery. RESULTS: The mean plasma adrenomedullin concentrations ( SD) in patients with pheochromocytoma (37.9 +/- 6pg/ml) were significantly higher (p<0.0001) than those in normal subjects (13.7 +/- 6.1 pg/mI) and patients with essential hypertension (22.5 +/- 9.lpg/ml). Adrenomedullin levels correlated with plasma noradrenaline (r = 0.516, p = 0.0124). In all patients with pheochromocytoma, plasma adrenomedullin concentrations decreased after removal of tumours (from 37.9 +/- 6 to 10.9 +/- 4.6 pg/ml; p < 0.0001). In the four patients studied during surgery, baseline plasma adrenomedullin and noradrenaline levels were markedly elevated, and increased significantly with tumour manipulation, decreasing 24 hours after operation. Adrenal medulla cells surrounding the pheochromocytoma site stained for ir-adrenomedullin, whereas only isolated cells of pheochromocytoma stained for the peptide. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that circulating adrenomedullin is increased in pheochromocytoma, and is also correlated with plasma noradrenaline levels. Adrenomedullin may represent an additional biochemical parameter for clinical monitoring of patients with pheochromocytoma.
Plasma adrenomedullin concentrations in patients with adrenal pheochromocytoma / Letizia, Claudio; De Toma, Giorgio; C., Caliumi; S., Cerci; Massa, Rita; R. D., Loria; Alo', Piero Luigi; E. M., Marinoni; Diacinti, Daniele; D'Erasmo, Emilio. - In: HORMONE AND METABOLIC RESEARCH. - ISSN 0018-5043. - 33:5(2001), pp. 290-294. [10.1055/s-2001-15281]