Abstract: Disturbed adrenal function in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;18(3):295-301.

Segal TY, Hindmarsh PC, Viner RM.

University College London Hospitals, UK.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate adrenal function in children and adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) compared with age-matched controls.

METHODS: Case-control study of low dose (500 ng/m2) synacthen tests (LDST) in 23 adolescents with CFS and 17 age-matched controls. Serum cortisol concentrations were measured at 5-min intervals from 10 to 45 minutes. Peak serum cortisol concentration, time to peak, rise in cortisol and area under the curve (AUC) were derived.

RESULTS: Patients with CFS had significantly lower mean cortisol levels during the LDST (p <0.001), lower peak cortisol (p <0.025), reduced cortisol AUC (p <0.005) and longer time to peak cortisol (p <0.05). Abnormalities were seen in both sexes but were more pronounced in females. Unstimulated adrenal androgen and 17-hydroxyprogesterone concentrations were normal.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents with CFS have subtle alterations in adrenal function suggesting a reduction in central stimulation of the adrenal glands. The more pronounced effects in females may reflect differential central effects of stress on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulation between the sexes.

PMID: 15813608 [PubMed – in process]

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