Adrenomedullary function, obesity and permissive influences of catecholamines on body mass in patients with chromaffin cell tumours

Yaxin An, Manja Reimann, Jimmy Masjkur, Katharina Langton, Mirko Peitzsch, Timo Deutschbein, Martin Fassnacht, Natalie Rogowski-Lehmann, Felix Beuschlein, Stephanie Fliedner, Anthony Stell, Aleksander Prejbisz, Andrzej Januszewicz, Jacques Lenders, Stefan R. Bornstein, Graeme Eisenhofer*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Obesity-associated activation of sympathetic nervous outflow is well documented, whereas involvement of dysregulated adrenomedullary hormonal function in obesity is less clear. This study assessed relationships of sympathoadrenal function with indices of obesity and influences of circulating catecholamines on body mass. Methods: Anthropometric and clinical data along with plasma and 24-h urine samples were collected from 590 volunteers and 1368 patients tested for phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL), among whom tumours were diagnosed in 210 individuals. Results: Among patients tested for PPGL, those with tumours less often had a body mass index (BMI) above 30 kg/m 2 (12 vs. 31%) and more often a BMI under 25 kg/m 2 (56 vs. 32%) than those without tumours (P < 0.0001). Urinary outputs of catecholamines in patients with PPGL were negatively related to BMI (r = −0.175, P = 0.0133). Post-operative weight gain (P < 0.0001) after resection of PPGL was positively related to presurgical tumoural catecholamine output (r = 0.257, P = 0.0101). Higher BMI in men and women and percent body fat in women of the volunteer group were associated with lower plasma concentrations and urinary outputs of adrenaline and metanephrine, the former indicating obesity-related reduced adrenaline secretion and the latter obesity-related reduced adrenomedullary adrenaline stores. Daytime activity was associated with substantial increases in urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline excretion, with blunted responses in obese subjects. Conclusions: The findings in patients with PPGL support an influence of high circulating catecholamines on body weight. Additional associations of adrenomedullary dysfunction with obesity raise the possibility of a permissive influence of the adrenal medulla on the regulation of body weight.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


Dive into the research topics of 'Adrenomedullary function, obesity and permissive influences of catecholamines on body mass in patients with chromaffin cell tumours'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this