Imperial Collage Healthcare

Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)


Test Background
ACTH is a 39 amino acid peptide hormone which is secreted by the pituitary gland to regulate production of steroid hormones by the adrenal cortex. It is the principal modulator of cortisol. As the effective level of cortisol rises, release of ACTH is inhibited directly at a pituitary level. Plasma ACTH levels are useful in the differential diagnosis of pituitary Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, autonomous ACTH-producing pituitary tumours and ectopic sources of ACTH secretion.


Clinical Indications

  • Establishment of the aetiology of Cushing's syndrome and assessment of treatment efficacy in Cushing’s patients
  • Differentiation of primary from secondary causes of adrenal insufficiency
  • Diagnosis of ectopic ACTH secretion, eg. small cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Localisation of excess ACTH production


Reference Range

9am : 0-30 ng/L
Midnight : 0-10 ng/L


Sample Required
EDTA (lavender top) on ice rush to laboratory


Sample Volume
0.5 mL


Turnaround Time
1 week


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