Abstract: Chronic fatigue syndrome: circadian rhythm and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis impairment

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2001 Jan-Apr;14(1):11-15

Racciatti D, Guagnano MT, Vecchiet J, De Remigis PL, Pizzigallo E, Della Vecchia R, Di Sciascio T, Merlitti D, Sensi S.

Clinic of Infectious Diseases, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a clinical condition characterized by a persistent or relapsing debilitating fatigue at rest, lasting more than 6 months, and made worse by exercise. At the present moment, there are three potential etiopathogenic factors: immunologic, viral and neuroendocrine.

The purpose of our study was to evaluate possible alterations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in our CFS patients by studying the circadian rhythms of prolactin (PRL), thyrotropic hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and cortisol (CS).

A total of 36 patients were enrolled according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case-definition criteria. Twenty healthy subjects were included as controls. Blood samples were taken every 4 hours during a single 24-hour period. We performed a fluorometric enzyme immunoassay with serum PRL, cortisol and TSH, and an immunoradiometric assay with plasma ACTH.

The circadian rhythms of PRL, TSH, ACTH and CS were statistically significant in both CFS and control groups. At 24:00 and 04:00 hrs the CFS patients showed lower ACTH levels than healthy subjects (p < 0.001); the PRL levels were higher at 04.00 h in CFS patients than in healthy subjects.

PMID: 12622884 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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