Itsenko-Cushing's Disease

Itsenko-Cushing’s Disease


(from the names of the Soviet neuropathologist N. M. Itsenko, 1889–1954, and the American neurosurgeon H. W. Cushing, 1869–1939), a disorder caused by excessive secretion of the pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) with a consequent increase in adrenal function.

Excessive pituitary function may be caused by a tumor (basophilic adenoma) or by injury to the hypothalamic region of the brain, the site of production of a special substance (corticotropin releasing factor) that intensifies the synthesis and liberation of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The symptom complex of Itsenko-Cushing’s disease is brought about by the elevated level of secretion of adrenocortical hormones (glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and ketosteroids); manifestations include adiposis (mainly in the region of the pectoral girdle, trunk, abdomen, and face), hypertension, hirsutism (in females), osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, lowered sexual function, and dryness of the cutaneous integuments. Treatment involves X-irradiation of the pituitary region. Symptomatic treatment includes the administration of agents that lower blood pressure, antidiabetic preparations, and substances that inhibit adrenal function (amphenone, metopyrone). Subtotal or total adrenalectomy may be performed and followed by the administration of adrenal hormones.