Primary Cortisol Deficiency and Growth Hormone Deficiency in a Neonate with Hypoglycemia: Coincidence or Consequence?

Jasmine Gujral, Mabel Yau, Amy C. Yang, Rama Kastury, Christopher J. Romero, Elizabeth Wallach, Meredith Wilkes, Gertrude Costin, Robert Rapaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cortisol and growth hormone (GH) deficiencies are causes of neonatal hypoglycemia. When they coexist, a pituitary disorder is suspected. We present an infant with hypoglycemia in whom an ACTH receptor defect was associated with transient GH deficiency. A full-term boy with consanguineous parents presented with hypoglycemia (serum glucose 18 mg/dL) at 4 hours of life with undetectable serum cortisol (<1 μg/dL). Examination showed diffuse hyperpigmentation with normal male genitalia. Patient developed hyperbilirubinemia and elevated transaminase levels. GH levels of 6.8 ng/mL and 7.48 ng/mL during episodes of hypoglycemia, peak of 9.2 ng/mL with glucagon stimulation, and undetectable IGF-1 suggested GH deficiency. Thyroid function, prolactin, and gonadotropins were normal. Baseline ACTH was elevated at 4868 pg/mL, whereas serum cortisol remained undetectable with ACTH stimulation. Hydrocortisone replacement resulted in normalization of blood glucose and cholestasis with decline in ACTH level. GH therapy was not initiated, given improvement in cholestasis and euglycemia. An ACTH receptor defect was confirmed with molecular genetic testing that revealed homozygosity for a known mutation of the melanocortin 2 receptor (MC2R) gene. At 12 weeks, a random GH level was 10 ng/mL. IGF-1 was 75 ng/mL and 101 ng/mL at 7 and 9 months, respectively. This report describes glucocorticoid deficiency from an MC2R mutation associated with GH deficiency. With glucocorticoid replacement, GH secretion normalized. Our findings are consistent with a previously stated hypothesis that physiologic glucocorticoid levels may be required for optimal GH secretion [1].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-846
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • adrenocorticotrophic hormone
  • cortisol deficiency
  • growth hormone deficiency
  • hypoglycemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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