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Familial glucocorticoid deficiency. Studies of diagnosis and pathogenesis.
  1. D Thistlethwaite,
  2. J A Darling,
  3. R Fraser,
  4. P A Mason,
  5. L H Rees,
  6. R A Harkness


    The clinical and biochemical findings are described in 2 brothers who had intermittent hypoglycaemia generally precipitated by the "stress" of infection. Both were tall and pigmented. Both boys showed a failure of adrenocortical response to ACTH which was progressive in the eldest boy. The diagnosis of familial glucocorticoid deficiency (hereditary adrenocortical unresponsiveness) was confirmed by the absence of electrolyte imbalance even on a low sodium diet, and by very high levels of ACTH in plasma. High levels of deoxycorticosterone (DOC) were found in both children with normal levels of other plasma corticosteroids. It is suggested that the high levels of DOC may be in some way related to the apparent persistence of a "fetal" type of adrenocortical steroid biosynthesis for 18 months or more in these boys. After the diagnosis, established by relatively simple methods, treatment with cortisone acetate has 0een highly effective.

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