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Differences in adrenal steroid profile in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), in depression & in health

  [ 121 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • June 5, 1999

BACKGROUND: Hyperactivity and hypoactivity of the HPA have been
forwarded as of pathophysiological relevance in major
depressive disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),

METHODS: This study examines cortisol levels in
the two disorders, and also assesses levels of the adrenal
androgens, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphate
derivative (DHEA-S), and 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone; 15
subjects with CFS diagnosed according to CDC criteria, 15
subjects with DSM III-R major depression and 11 healthy
subjects were compared.

RESULTS: DHEA and DHEA-S levels were
significantly lower in the CFS compared to the healthy group;
DHEA-S levels, but not DHEA, were lower in the depressives;
cortisol and 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone did not differ
between the three groups.

CONCLUSIONS: A potential role for
DHEA, both therapeutically and as a diagnostic tool, in CFS,
is suggested.

Scott LV, Salahuddin F, Cooney J, Svec F, Dinan TG

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