Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A genetic basis for cortisol excess

27.02.2014

An international team of researchers led by an endocrinologist at LMU has identified genetic mutations that result in uncontrolled synthesis and secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stressful events, and modulates a whole spectrum of physiological processes. An international research collaboration has now identified genetic mutations that lead to the production and secretion of cortisol in the absence of an underlying stressor.


The discovery emerged from the genetic characterization of benign tumors of the adrenal gland which produce cortisol in excess amounts. Patients who develop such tumors suffer from weight gain, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, diabetes and hypertension. This condition, known as Cushing’s syndrome, can be successfully treated by surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland.

Overproduction of cortisol
The team, which included researchers from Germany, France and the US and was led by Professors Felix Beuschlein and Martin Fassnacht of the LMU Medical Center, were able to show that in one-third of a patient population with such adrenal tumors, a mutation in the gene for the enzyme phosphokinase A was specifically associated with the continuous production of cortisol. This mutation had occurred in the adrenal gland and is therefore restricted to the tumor cells. The results have just appeared in the prestigious “New England Journal of Medicine”.

... more about:
»Cortisol »DNA »Education »Health »LMU »Medicine

“The gene for phosphokinase A plays a key role in the regulation of adrenal gland function, and the newly identified mutation causes it to become irreversibly activated, which results in the unrestrained production of cortisol,” says Felix Beuschlein. In collaboration with a group at the US National Institutes of Health, the team was also able to identify patients who carry similar genetic alterations in their germline DNA. In these families, Cushing’s syndrome occurs as a heritable genetic disease.

The elucidation of the genetic mechanism responsible for a significant fraction of cases of Cushing’s syndrome provides a new diagnostic tool, and may also lead to new approaches to treatment. To enable further investigations towards this end, the German Cushing Register, which is maintained by Professor Martin Reincke at the LMU Medical Center, has received a grant of 400,000 euros from the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation. A recently initiated European research consortium devoted to the study of Cushing’s syndrome, of which Professors Beuschlein and Fassnacht are members is supported by a grant of 700,000 euros from the ERA-NET program administered by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. (The New England Journal of Medicine, 26. Februar 2014) nh

Luise Dirscherl | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Cortisol DNA Education Health LMU Medicine

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Common bacteria on verge of becoming antibiotic-resistant superbugs
26.03.2015 | Washington University School of Medicine

nachricht Chemical tag marks future microRNAs for processing, study shows
25.03.2015 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Surface-modified nanoparticles endow coatings with combined properties

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Novel sensor system provides continuous smart monitoring of machinery and plant equipment

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Common bacteria on verge of becoming antibiotic-resistant superbugs

26.03.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>