Adrenal diabetes and pituitary diabetes produce hyperglycemia. Which hormones would produce each of these conditions? How and why does this occur in each condition?

1 Answer
Jan 30, 2017

I would ask you to study Cushing's syndrome. And before everything we must know about adrenal gland and pituitary's influence on it.

Hope the answer will help you to understand.


Adrenal gland is histologically and functionally divided in two parts cortex and medulla.

  1. Hormone responsible for hyperglycemia (=diabetes) is secreted in increased amount by middle layer of adrenal cortex. Name of the hormone is GLUCOCORTICOID or cortisol.
  2. **Adrenal cortex is influenced by ADRENO-CORTICOTROPHIC HORMONE (ACTH) secreted by anterior pituitary.
  3. Pituitary cells secreting ACTH are in turn controlled by CORTICOTROPIN RELEASING HORMONE secreted by hypothalamic neural tissue.**

Elevated cortisol causes Cushing's syndrome : there are symptoms like weight gain around torso/body but thinning of limbs, mood changes, hypertension (raised blood pressure), hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar), appearance of body hair in females, increased level of cholesterol, etc.

Cortisol level may increase either due to a tumor in adrenal cortex
due to tumor in anterior pituitary, which releases more of ACTH.

In both the above cases cortisol level in blood will increase causing various symptoms including diabetes. The cells of the body in presence of cortisol become insulin resistant , hence can not take up sugar from blood stream-- leading to hyperglycemia, i.e. diabetes.