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Plasma immunoreactive beta-melanocyte-stimulating hormone in chronic liver disease and fulminant hepatic failure.

Hyperpigmentation believed to be due to melanin, is a feature of chronic liver disease, especially primary biliary cirrhosis and hemochromatosis. Normal plasma concentrations of immunoreactive beta-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (beta-MSH) have been found in both these conditions; thus elevation of plasma beta-MSH plays no role in the pathogenesis of hepatic pigmentation. Normal levels are also found in hepatocellular failure, which supports the hypothesis that the kidney and not the liver is the site of metabolism of this hormone.

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