Natural corticotropin is a 39-amino-acid polypeptide secreted by the anterior pituitary gland; it is obtained from animal pituitaries.
The physiological activity resides in the first 24 amino acids (which are common to many species) and most immunological activity resides in the remaining 15 amino acids.
The pituitary output of corticotropin responds rapidly to physiological requirements by the familiar negative-feedback homeostatic mechanism. Since the t'/2 of corticotropin is 10 min and the adrenal cortex responds rapidly (within 2 min) it is plain that adjustments of steroid output can be quickly made.
Synthetic corticotropins have the advantage that they are shorter amino acid chains (devoid of amino acids 25-39) and so are less likely to cause serious allergy, though this can happen. In addition they are not contaminated by animal proteins which are potent allergens.
Tetracosactride (tetracosactrin) consists of the biologically active first 24 amino acids of natural corticotropin (from man or animals and so it has similar properties, e.g. t1/, 10 min.
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