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March 1966

Epinephrine and Insulin Effects: II. ACTH and Cortisol*

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;14(3):287-290. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730090063010

IN VIEW of the central role which stress is assumed to take in many psychophysiologic interpretations of psychiatric disorder, interest has long been focused on the function of the pituitary-adrenal system in psychiatric illness. However, no direct measure of ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) activity have been obtained in studies of the response of psychotic or nonpsychotic psychiatric patients to stress. In addition, in only a few studies1-4 have detectable levels of ACTH been reliably established in normal humans with no known endocrine pathology. Thus the report by Vernikos-Danellis and Marks,5 in which increased blood levels of ACTH were found 2½ minutes after the intravenous administration of epinephrine to normal subjects, was viewed with great interest. Epinephrine was therefore chosen in this study as an adequate stressor with which to compare psychotic patients with nonpsychotic controls. Insulin was chosen for two reasons, one