Polypeptide hormone made in the pituitary gland. It regulates the activity of part of the adrenal cortex (see adrenal glands), the production site of important steroid hormones that affect electrolyte and water balance and the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. ACTH is found in vertebrates (except jawless fishes); in mammals it contains 39 amino acids. Overproduction of ACTH is one cause of Cushing syndrome.

Variants of ACTH

ACTH in full adrenocorticotropic hormone

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on ACTH, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up ACTH? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.