Definition of Endocrine Disorders

An endocrine disorder is a medical condition that causes a hormonal imbalance. Endocrine disorders can result from dysfunction originating in the peripheral endocrine gland itself (primary disorders) or from under stimulation or overstimulation by the pituitary (secondary disorders). The disorders can result in hormone overproduction (hyper function) or underproduction (hypo function). Rarely, endocrine disorders (usually hypo function) occur because of abnormal tissue responses to hormones. Clinical manifestations of hypo function disorders are often insidious and nonspecific.

Hyper function

Hyper function of endocrine glands may result from overstimulation by the pituitary but is most commonly due to hyperplasia or neoplasia of the gland itself. In some cases, cancers from other tissues can produce hormones (ectopic hormone production). Hormone excess also can result from exogenous hormone administration. In some cases, patients take hormones without telling the physician (factitious disease). Tissue hypersensitivity to hormones can occur. Antibodies can stimulate peripheral endocrine glands, as occurs in hyperthyroidism of Graves' disease. Destruction of a peripheral endocrine gland can rapidly release stored hormone (eg, thyroid hormones in thyroiditis). Enzyme defects in the synthesis of a peripheral endocrine hormone can result in overproduction of hormones proximal to the block. Finally, overproduction of a hormone can occur as an appropriate response to a disease state.

Hypo function

Hypo function of an endocrine gland can result from under stimulation by the pituitary. Hypo function originating within the peripheral gland itself can result from congenital or acquired disorders (including autoimmune disorders, tumors, infections, vascular disorders, and toxins). Genetic disorders causing hypo function can result from deletion of a gene or by production of an abnormal hormone. A decrease in hormone production by the peripheral endocrine gland with a resulting increase in production of pituitary regulating hormone can lead to peripheral endocrine gland hyperplasia. For example, if synthesis of thyroid hormone is defective, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced in excessive amounts, causing goiter.

(For more information go to: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/principles_of_endocrinology/endocrine_disorders.html)

ECR Center expedites every aspect of a endocrinology drug trial. It combines global experience in II, III and IV Phases of endocrinology drug development with expertise in endocrine gland imaging, laboratory (including PK/PD and Biomarkers) IVRS, central data management, electronic data capture and regulatory issues. Our clinical trial experience includes the following endocrinology indications:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Addison Disease
  • Cushing Syndrome