PMID: 39183Oct 12, 1979

Hormone secretion in alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing's syndrome. Differential diagnosis with Cushing disease

JAMA : the Journal of the American Medical Association
S W LambertsJ C Birkenhäger


We describe the clinical and biochemical characteristics of alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing's syndrome in two patients with signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome and slight disturbances in liver function. An insufficient suppression of plasma cortisol to the overnight administration of 1 mg of dexamethasone was accompanied by an absent diurnal rhythm of plasma cortisol and an increased cortisol secretion rate. The plasma cortisol levels at 8 AM normalized during hospital admission (ie, alcohol withdrawal) at the same rate or parallel with the serum gamma-glutamyl transferase concentration. A normal increase of plasma cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and growth hormone in response to an insulin induced hypoglycemia was not compatible with the diagnosis Cushing's syndrome. However, the result of a differential diagnostic test with metyrapone was compatible with the presence of Cushing's disease. An erroneous diagnosis of Cushing's disease can be easily made in patients with alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing's syndrome.


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Related Concepts

SGPT - Glutamate pyruvate transaminase
SGOT - Glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase
Cushing Syndrome
Differential Diagnosis
Gamma-glutamyl transferase
Hydrocortisone, (9 beta,10 alpha,11 alpha)-Isomer
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