We investigated the possibility that angiotensin II (ANGII) augments the sensitivity of the pituitary to corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) by com. paring, in patients with essential hypertension, the responses of plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, aldosterone, and renin activity to a bolus injection of either 0.5 or 1.0 μg/kg of synthetic ovine CRF in control conditions and after chronic treat. ment with the converting enzyme inhibitor captopril tc block the formation of ANGII: the effects of CRF were examined up to 4 h after its administration. In contro studies, we found that the two doses of CRF induced simliar increments in ACTH and cortisol, the levels of which remained elevated throughout the studies: these changes were associated with increments in plasma aldosterone that were dose dependent, less pronounced, and of shorter duration and with a slight decrease in plasma renin activity. Captopril treatment increased basal plasma renin activity and lowered plasma aldosterone while leaving basal ACTH and cortisol unchanged. During converting enzyme inhibition, the responses of ACTH and cortisol to CRF were similar to those observed in control studies, whereas the changes in plasma aldosterone and plasma renin activity were, respectively, smaller and greater. From these results, it appears that during ANGII blockade the sensitivity of ACTH to CRF stimulation is unaffected, whereas that of the adrenals to ACTH is selectively reduced at the level of the zona glomerulosa.
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