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Vasopressin and desmopressin stimulation test

André Lacroix, MD
Section Editor
Lynnette K Nieman, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Martin, MD


Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) is the natural human nonapeptide which, in addition to its antidiuretic, vasoconstrictive, glycogenolytic and platelet aggregation actions, plays an important role in the regulation of the corticotropin (ACTH)-adrenal axis. AVP and some of its analogs such as porcine 8-lysine-vasopressin (LVP), terlipressin (triglycyl-lysine-vasopressin), and desmopressin (1-deamino, 8-D arginine-vasopressin) have been utilized to assess this axis for different purposes including to:

Test pituitary ACTH secretion (AVP, LVP)

Evaluate the cause or cure (remission) of ACTH-dependent Cushing's syndrome (desmopressin)

Stimulate ACTH secretion during petrosal sinus sampling (desmopressin alone or in combination with corticotropin-releasing hormone [CRH])

Distinguish between Cushing’s syndrome and pseudo-Cushing’s (CRH versus desmopressin tests)


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Literature review current through: Dec 2016. | This topic last updated: Thu Dec 12 00:00:00 GMT 2013.
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