ARMC5 mutations in macronodular adrenal hyperplasia with Cushing's syndrome.
Assié G, Libé R, Espiard S, Rizk-Rabin M, Guimier A, Luscap W, Barreau O, Lefèvre L, Sibony M, Guignat L, Rodriguez S, Perlemoine K, René-Corail F, Letourneur F, Trabulsi B, Poussier A, Chabbert-Buffet N, Borson-Chazot F, Groussin L, Bertagna X, Stratakis CA, Ragazzon B, Bertherat . N Engl J Med. 2013 Nov 28;369(22):2105-14.
Corticotropin-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia may be an incidental finding or it may be identified during evaluation for Cushing's syndrome. Reports of familial cases and the involvement of both adrenal glands suggest a genetic origin of this condition.
We genotyped blood and tumor DNA obtained from 33 patients with corticotropin-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia (12 men and 21 women who were 30 to 73 years of age), using single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays, microsatellite markers, and whole-genome and Sanger sequencing. The effects of armadillo-repeat-containing-5 (ARMC5) inactivation and overexpression were tested in cell-culture models.
The most frequent somatic chromosome alteration was loss of heterozygosity at 16p (in 8 of 33 patients for whom data were available [24%]). The most frequent mutation identified by means of whole-genome sequencing was in ARMC5, located at 16p11.2. ARMC5 mutations were detected in tumors obtained from 18 of 33 patients (55%). In all cases, both alleles of ARMC5 carried mutations: one germline and the other somatic. In 4 patients with a germline ARMC5 mutation, different nodules from the affected adrenals harbored different secondary ARMC5 alterations. Transcriptome-based classification of corticotropin-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia indicated that ARMC5 mutations influenced gene expression, since all cases with mutations clustered together. ARMC5 inactivation decreased steroidogenesis in vitro, and its overexpression altered cell survival.Some cases of corticotropin-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia appear to be genetic, most often with inactivating mutations of ARMC5, a putative tumor-suppressor gene. Genetic testing for this condition, which often has a long and insidious prediagnostic course, might result in earlier identification and better management.

Intraadrenal corticotropin in bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia
Louiset E, Duparc C, Young J, Renouf S, Tetsi Nomigni M, Boutelet I, Libé R, Bram Z, Groussin L, Caron P, Tabarin A, Grunenberger F, Christin-Maitre S, Bertagna X, Kuhn JM, Anouar Y, Bertherat J, Lefebvre H. N Engl J Med. 2013 Nov 28;369(22):2115-25
Bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia is a rare cause of primary adrenal Cushing's syndrome. In this form of hyperplasia, hypersecretion of cortisol suppresses the release of corticotropin by pituitary corticotrophs, which results in low plasma corticotropin levels. Thus, the disease has been termed corticotropin-independent macronodular adrenal hyperplasia. We examined the abnormal production of corticotropin in these hyperplastic adrenal glands.
We obtained specimens of hyperplastic macronodular adrenal tissue from 30 patients with primary adrenal disease. The corticotropin precursor proopiomelanocortin and corticotropin expression were assessed by means of a polymerase-chain-reaction assay and immunohistochemical analysis. The production of corticotropin and cortisol was assessed in 11 specimens with the use of incubated explants and cell cultures coupled with hormone assays. Corticotropin levels were measured in adrenal and peripheral venous blood samples from 2 patients.
The expression of proopiomelanocortin messenger RNA (mRNA) was detected in all samples of hyperplastic adrenal tissue. Corticotropin was detected in steroidogenic cells arranged in clusters that were disseminated throughout the adrenal specimens. Adrenal corticotropin levels were higher in adrenal venous blood samples than in peripheral venous samples, a finding that was consistent with local production of the peptide within the hyperplastic adrenals. The release of adrenal corticotropin was stimulated by ligands of aberrant membrane receptors but not by corticotropin-releasing hormone or dexamethasone. A semiquantitative score for corticotropin immunostaining in the samples correlated with basal plasma cortisol levels. Corticotropin-receptor antagonists significantly inhibited in vitro cortisol secretion.Cortisol secretion by the adrenals in patients with macronodular hyperplasia and Cushing's syndrome appears to be regulated by corticotropin, which is produced by a subpopulation of steroidogenic cells in the hyperplastic adrenals.
The hypercortisolism associated with bilateral acronodular adrenal hyperplasia appears to be corticotropin-dependent.