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February 10, 1951


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; St. Margaret Memorial and Montefiore Hospitals, and the John C. Oliver Memorial Research Foundation of St. Margaret Memorial Hospital.

JAMA. 1951;145(6):382-389. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920240018005

Demonstrating striking remission in activity of rheumatoid arthritis resulting from administration of the adrenal cortex hormone, cortisone, and pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), Hench, Kendall, Slocumb and Polley1 provided a new, promising tool for further investigation of the pathogensis of rheumatoid arthritis. Further, these observers also indicated the possibility of practical application of these hormones in the treatment of the disease.

The effects of short term administration of pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone in rheumatoid arthritis have been described by various writers.2 Remission, they indicated, is generally induced rapidly but not maintained after cessation of therapy. Relapse develops in practically all instances, frequently immediately after discontinuation of treatment.

Our chief interest was directed toward study of the clinical and metabolic effects of long-continued administration of pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone and of means which might be developed for maintaining the remission induced after administration of the hormone is discontinued. We were particularly interested