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      Differences in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis of Black and White Men

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          We previously found that, following intravenous administration of ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), the plasma ACTH concentrations of Black women were approximately twice as high as those of White women; however, there were no corresponding differences in cortisol response. To determine whether this difference in ACTH secretion is also present in men, we studied the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of 10 Black and 10 White weight-, age-, and education-matched men. Waist-to-hip ratio, 24-hour urine free cortisol excretion, and ACTH and cortisol responses to 1 μg/kg ovine CRH were determined. There were no racial differences in waist-to-hip ratio, 24-hour urine free cortisol excretion, baseline free or total plasma cortisol and ACTH concentrations, or plasma cortisol response to CRH. However, CRH-stimulated plasma ACTH concentrations, measured in an extraction polyclonal radioimmunoassay, were significantly greater in Blacks than in Whites at all time points between 30 and 180 min after administration of CRH (area under curve (AUC) 1,796 ± 245 pmol/l·min in Blacks vs. 1,278 ± 121 pmol/ l·min in Whites, p < 0.001). Neither cortisol nor ACTH AUCs were significantly correlated with Body Mass Index in Black or White men. We conclude that there are differences in the HPA axis of Black and White men similar to those found previously in women. The physiology underlying these differences remains to be understood.

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          Author and article information

          Horm Res Paediatr
          Hormone Research in Paediatrics
          S. Karger AG
          05 December 2008
          : 44
          : 5
          : 208-212
          aDevelopmental Endocrinology Branch, NICHD; bClinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, NIMH, and cDivision of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., USA
          184627 Horm Res 1995;44:208–212
          © 1995 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Pages: 5
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