Cushings Syndrome

Gennaro Favia, MD ■ Franco Lumachi, MD ■ Maurizio Iacobone, MD

In 1932 Harvey W. Cushing, a Boston neurosurgeon, defined a syndrome characterized by muscular weakness, obesity, abdominal striae, diabetes, and arterial hypertension, which he called "pituitary basophilism," implying that it was a specific pituitary disease.1 Today, all conditions resulting in chronic glucocorticoid excess are known as Cushing's syndrome. Iatrogenic Cushing's syndrome is due to increased glucocorticoid intake and should be distinguished from the primary form. Spontaneous Cushing's syndrome may be of pituitary or ectopic origin (corticotropin dependent) or of adrenal origin (corticotropin independent).

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