Pituitary function was assessed before and after transsphenoidal hypophysectomy in 39 dogs with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH). Anterior pituitary function was investigated using combined administration of four hypophysiotropic releasing hormones (corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), GHRH, GnRH, and TRH) with measurements of ACTH, cortisol, GH, LH, prolactin (PRL), and TSH Pars intermedia function was assessed by measurements of basal plasma alpha-MSH concentrations and adrenocortical function by baseline urinary corticoid/creatinine ratios. At eight weeks after hypophysectomy basal plasma ACTH, cortisol, GH, LH, PRL, and TSH concentrations were significantly lower than before surgery. In seven dogs with elevated alpha-MSH concentrations, the values returned to the normal level after surgery. In the combined anterior pituitary function test there were no plasma GH, LH, PRL, and TSH responses to stimulation, whereas plasma ACTH and cortisol responses were small but significant. Remission of hyperadrenocorticism was obtained in 35 dogs and recurrences occurred in 3 of these within 16 months postoperatively. At 8 weeks after hypophysectomy, these 3 dogs were not discernible, with respect to residual pituitary and adrenocortical function, from the 32 dogs with persisting remission. Urinary corticoid/creatinine ratios in the latter group of dogs did not increase during 22 months after hypophysectomy. In contrast to the presurgical findings, at 8 weeks after hypophysectomy there were significant positive correlations between baseline urinary corticoid/creatinine ratios and basal levels and responses for ACTH, indicating return to normal function of the pituitary-adrenocortical axis. It is concluded that among the adenohypophyseal cells present in the sella turcica after hypophysectomy, the corticotropes have a distinct behavior. Much more so than the other cell types, the unaffected corticotropes tend to remain functional, or a repressed reserve fraction of corticotropes may become functional. This may be due to the removal of the hypothalamic influence of a postulated corticotropin-release inhibiting factor or a diminished inhibitory influence of a postulated paracrine factor. The corticotropes may maintain normocorticism, but may also lead to mild recurrence after relatively long periods of remission.
BP Meij, JA Mol, MM Bevers and A Rijnberk
RP Favier, JA Mol, HS Kooistra and A Rijnberk
The main determinants of body size are GH and IGFs. The aim of this study was to investigate whether differences in adult body size of medium-sized and giant dog breeds can be explained by differences in GH release and/or in plasma IGF-I and IGF-II concentrations at a young age. The basal plasma concentrations of GH, IGF-I and IGF-II were determined once weekly in six Great Danes and six beagles from the age of 6 weeks until the age of 24 weeks. In addition, the 6 h secretory profile of GH was determined every 2 weeks. Basal plasma GH concentrations as well as the total area under the curve (AUC) and the AUC above the baseline for GH were significantly higher in Great Danes than in beagles of the same age. In contrast, plasma IGF-I and IGF-II concentrations did not differ significantly between the two breeds. Compared with values in adults, the basal plasma GH concentrations were high until the age of 7 weeks in the beagles, whereas in the Great Danes the basal plasma GH levels remained high during the entire observation period, albeit with a gradual decline. The mean frequency and the mean amplitude of GH pulses tended to be higher in Great Danes than in beagles, although a significant difference was only reached at the age of 19 and 23 weeks for the frequency and at the ages of 9, 11 and 13 weeks for the amplitude. An age-dependent decrease in pulse frequency occurred in the Great Danes. The results of this study demonstrate that differences in adult body size of medium-sized and giant dog breeds are preceded by differences in GH release and not by differences in circulating IGF-I or IGF-II concentrations. Both young Great Danes and young beagles experience a period of high GH release, but this period persists much longer in Great Danes. It is discussed that this difference may be due to delayed maturation of the inhibitory influences of somatostatin on pituitary GH release in the latter dogs.
WM Lee, M Diaz-Espineira, JA Mol, A Rijnberk and HS Kooistra
The pulsatile secretion patterns of GH were investigated in seven beagle bitches by collecting blood samples every 10 min for 6 h during euthyroidism and 1.5 years after induction of primary hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism was induced by surgical removal of the thyroid gland and subsequent destruction of any remnant thyroid tissue by oral administration of sodium [(131)I]iodide. Some of the physical changes observed in the dogs with primary hypothyroidism mimicked those of acromegaly. During both euthyroidism and hypothyroidism GH was secreted in a pulsatile fashion. The mean (+/-s.e.m. ) basal plasma GH concentration was significantly higher (P=0.003) in the hypothyroid state (4.1+/-1.6 microg/l) than in the euthyroid state (1.2+/-0.4 microg/l). Likewise, the mean area under the curve (AUC) for GH above the zero-level during hypothyroidism (27.0+/-10.0 microg/lx6 h) was significantly higher (P=0.004) than that during euthyroidism (11.7+/-2.0 microg/l x 6 h). The mean AUC for GH above the baseline was significantly lower (P=0.008) during hypothyroidism (2.4+/-0.8 microg/l x 6 h) than during euthyroidism (4.5+/-1.8 microg/lx6 h), whereas there was no significant difference in GH pulse frequency. The mean plasma IGF-I level was significantly higher (P<0.01) in the hypothyroid state (169+/-45 microg/l) than in the euthyroid (97+/-15 microg/l). The results of this study demonstrate that primary hypothyroidism in dogs is associated with elevated basal GH secretion and less GH secreted in pulses. This elevated GH secretion has endocrine significance as illustrated by elevated plasma IGF-I levels and some physical changes mimicking acromegaly. It is discussed that the increased GH release in hypothyroid dogs may be the result of the absence of a response element for thyroid hormone within the canine pituitary GH gene and alterations in supra-pituitary regulation.