A team of researchers may have zeroed in on the cause of Cushing’s disease, a condition that leads to diabetes, obesity and the risk of premature death.
More women than men get the disease, which begins usually between 20 and 50 with mostly benign tumors in the pituitary gland. It’s known that that condition results in excess production of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). But until now, scientists haven’t been sure what drives the production of ACTH.
Now, UCLA researchers and their colleagues have zeroed in on the culprit: excessive production of testicular orphan nuclear receptor (TR4). By reducing the TR4 in lab mice, they were able to reverse tumor growth and excess ACTH production.
The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could point the way to targeted treatment of Cushing’s.