Pharmacological adrenalectomy with mitotane

C. W. Breuner, D. H. Jennings, M. C. Moore, M. Orchinik

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38 Scopus citations


The potential of mitotane (ortho, para'-DDD, commonly used to treat adrenal carcinomas in humans and dogs) was investigated as an alternative to surgical adrenalectomy in birds, salamanders, and lizards. House sparrows (Passer domesticus) were injected twice daily with vehicle or one of two doses of mitotane (225 or 450 mg/kg), and basal and stress-induced levels of corticosterone (CORT) were measured 3 and 5 days after injections. Mitotane reduced basal CORT levels to nondetectable and abolished stress-induced CORT increases by the 3rd day of treatment. In another study, a single injection of mitotane was effective in lowering endogenous CORT levels 36 h later, but levels had apparently recovered by 10 days after the injection. Mitotane did not effect testicular weights and had no detectable effect on testosterone levels. In contrast to its effects on house sparrows, mitotane did not lower endogenous CORT levels in either tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) or tree lizards (Urosaurus ornatus), even at doses much higher than those used in house sparrows. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • (o, p'-DDD)
  • Corticosterone
  • House sparrow
  • Mitotane
  • Tiger salamander
  • Tree lizard


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