Secondary adrenal insufficiency

Secondary adrenal insufficiency

Secondary adrenal insufficiency describes the situation in which a shortage of ACTH impairs normal function of the cells in the zona fasciculata. The other cells of the cortex, in the zona reticularis and zona glomerulosa, are not affected by this disorder. The hormones produced in these zones (aldosterone in the zona glomerulosa, sex steroids in the zona reticularis) are only controlled in a limited extent by ACTH.

As a result of deficient ACTH levels, cortisol levels drop. This is accompanied by symptoms like gastrointestinal complaints, hypotension, low blood glucose levels and weakness. Administration of glucocorticoids relieves the symptoms.


I. Mineralocorticoids are required in the treatment of secondary adrenal insufficiency.

II. Adrenal insufficiency can occur when treatment with exogenous steroids is stopped.


Reduced fluid losses in urine due to the retention of sodium ions and water is a result of the action of