Cushing's disease in a young woman with anorexia nervosa: Pathophysiological implications

J. L. Katz, H. Weiner, J. Kream, B. Zumoff

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This report describes a 17-year old student who was found to have Cushing's syndrome two years after she had developed anorexia nervosa (AN). The Cushing's syndrome was treated with bilateral resection of enlarged, hyperplastic, non-tumorous adrenal glands. The diagnosis was further confirmed four years later when, two to three years after new symptoms had appeared, an ACTH secreting pituitary adenoma (that is, Cushing's disease) was found on surgery. The possible mechanism for the development of Cushing's disease in a patient with prior anorexia nervosa, a sequence of events reported once previously, is discussed. It is suggested that increased hypothalamic-pituitary corticotroph stimulation in association with the anorexia nervosa, a now well-established endocrine phenomenon, activated an occult, inactive pituitary basophil adenoma in this patient, eventually resulting in autonomous pituitary overproduction of ACTH by the tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-864
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


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