Somatostatin (SST) receptors (SSTRs) are expressed in a number of tissues, including the adrenal cortex, but their role in cortisol secretion has not been well characterized. The objective of the study was to investigate the expression of SSTRs in the adrenal cortex and cultured adrenocortical cells from primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD) tissues and to test the effect of a single injection of 100 μg of the SST analog octreotide on cortisol secretion in patients with PPNAD. The study was conducted at an academic research laboratory and clinical research center. Expression of SSTRs was examined in 26 PPNAD tissues and the immortalized PPNAD cell line CAR47. Ten subjects with PPNAD underwent a randomized, single-blind, crossover study of their cortisol secretion every 30 minutes over 12 hours (6:00 pm to 6:00 am) before and after the midnight administration of octreotide 100 μg sc. SSTRs expression was investigated by quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry. The CAR47 and primary cell lines were studied in vitro. The data of the 10 patients were analyzed before and after the administration of octreotide. All SSTRs, especially SSTR1-3, were expressed in PPNAD at significantly higher levels than in normal adrenal. SST was found to differentially regulate expression of its own receptors in the CAR47 cell line. However, the administration of octreotide to patients with PPNAD did not significantly affect cortisol secretion. SSTRs are overexpressed in PPNAD tissues in comparison with normal adrenal cortex. Octreotide did not exert any significant effect on cortisol secretion in a short clinical pilot study in a small number of patients with PPNAD, but long-acting SST analogs targeting multiple SSTRs may be worth investigating in this condition.
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