Previous studies have demonstrated concentrating neuroendocrinological disturbances in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients, concentrating in particular on low cortisol levels and a hypothalamic deficiency. In order to investigate the dynamic response of the adrenal glands, we measured dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in serum after adreno- corticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation during 60 minutes in 22 CFS- patients and 14 healthy controls. We found normal basal DHEA levels, but a blunted serum DHEA response curve to i.v. ACTH injection. This observation adds to the large amount of evidence of endocrinological abnormalities in CFS. Relative glucocorticoid deficiency might contribute to the overall clinical picture in CFS, and could explain some of the immunological disturbances observed in this syndrome.
De Becker P, De Meirleir K, Joos E, Campine I, Van Steenberge E, Smitz J et al.