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      Central Adrenal Insufficiency Could Not Be Confirmed by Measurement of Basal Serum DHEAS Levels in Pubertal Children

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          Background: Central adrenal insufficiency (CAI) is due to a decrease of CRH and/or ACTH secretion. ACTH-dependent dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) has been postulated as a possible marker of adrenal function in adult patients. Aims: To evaluate the usefulness of basal serum DHEAS determination to diagnose CAI in pubertal patients with a suspected diagnosis of CAI. Methods: Ninety-four pubertal patients suspected of having CAI were divided into two groups according to sufficient (group 1) or insufficient (group 2) low-dose ACTH test serum cortisol response. Concordance with low (<2.5th percentile) or normal (≥2.5th percentile) basal serum DHEAS levels for age and sex, respectively, was analysed. Results: Fifty patients (53.2%) in group 1 and 44 (46.8%) in group 2 were included. The median value of serum DHEAS levels in group 2 (0.7 µmol/l, interquartile range 0.44-1.49) was significantly lower than in group 1 (2.13 µmol/l, interquartile range 0.87-3.5; p < 0.03). Nevertheless, serum basal DHEAS levels as a diagnostic marker of CAI showed 39% sensitivity and 80% specificity. Conclusion: In pubertal patients, basal serum DHEAS levels do not seem to be a useful tool to diagnose either sufficiency or insufficiency of secondary adrenal function.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Adrenocorticotropin stimulation test: effects of basal cortisol level, time of day, and suggested new sensitive low dose test.

          Adrenal response to iv administration of 1-24 ACTH (250 micrograms) was examined in normal volunteers under various conditions. The effect of basal cortisol levels was examined by performing the tests at 0800 h with and without pretreatment with dexamethasone. The effect of time of day was evaluated by performing the tests at 0800 h and at 1600 h, eliminating possible basal cortisol influence by pretreatment with dexamethasone. In the first set of tests, despite significantly different baseline levels, 30-min cortisol levels were not different (618 +/- 50 vs. 590 +/- 52 nmol/L). Afternoon cortisol levels in response to ACTH were found to be significantly higher than morning levels at 5 min (254 +/- 50 vs. 144 +/- 36 nmol/L, p less than 0.01) and at 15 min (541 +/- 61 vs. 433 +/- 52 nmol/L, p less than 0.02). This difference in response was no longer notable at 30 min (629 +/- 52 and 591 +/- 52 nmol/L). We tried also to determine the lowest ACTH dose which will elicit a maximal cortisol response. No difference was found in cortisol levels at 30 and 60 min in response to 250 and 5 micrograms 1-24 ACTH. Using 1 micrograms ACTH, the 30-min response did not differ from that to 250 micrograms (704 +/- 72 vs. 718 +/- 55 nmol/L, respectively). However, the 60-min response to 1 microgram was significantly lower (549 +/- 61 vs. 842 +/- 110 nmol/L, p less than 0.01). Using this low dose ACTH test (1 microgram, measuring 30-min cortisol level), we were able to develop a much more sensitive ACTH test, which enabled us to differentiate a subgroup of patients on long-term steroid treatment who responded normally to the regular 250 micrograms test, but had a reduced response to 1 microgram. The stability of 1-24 ACTH in saline solution, kept at 4 C, was checked. ACTH was found to be fully stable after 2 hs in a concentration of 5 micrograms/ml in glass tube and 0.5 micrograms/ml in plastic tube. It was also found to be fully stable, both immunologically and biologically, for 4 months, under these conditions. We conclude that the 30-min cortisol response to ACTH is constant, unrelated to basal cortisol level or time of day. It is therefore the best criterion for measuring adrenal response in the short ACTH test. The higher afternoon responses at 5 and 15 min suggest greater adrenal sensitivity in the afternoon, but further studies are needed to clarify this issue.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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            Reference ranges for serum concentrations of lutropin (LH), follitropin (FSH), estradiol (E2), prolactin, progesterone, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), cortisol and ferritin in neonates, children and young adults.

            The aim of this study was to establish reference ranges for children (neonates to young adults), for serum lutropin (LH), follitropin (FSH), estradiol (E2), progesterone, prolactin, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), cortisol and ferritin, using the nonisotopic, automated chemiluminescence immunoassay system, Immulite (DPC). Serum samples from 762 children (369 female; age 1 day to 19 years) were examined. Of these, 381 were classified as pubertal. Due to non-normal distribution, the 2.5th, 50th and 97.5th percentiles (central 95% interval) were calculated for each group. Statistical differences between the reference ranges were analyzed with respect to age, sex and the stage of sexual maturation. The median concentrations of E2, prolactin, progesterone, DHEAS, cortisol and ferritin were higher during the first 2 weeks post-partum than thereafter. The largest difference was seen with prolactin, which showed up to 27-fold higher values during this period. In contrast, before the onset of puberty, hardly any sex difference was observed and all analyte concentrations remained relatively constant, apart from SHBG which increased steadily after the neonatal period. The increase of gonadal activity in females with the onset of sexual maturation included an increase in LH and FSH, which was accompanied by a strong increase in E2, progesterone and prolactin. Cortisol increased to a lesser extent during puberty. In males, the increase in the median concentrations of the hormones was smaller, except for DHEAS. The concentration of ferritin was high in the neonatal period but did not change during sexual maturation. Our findings agree with earlier studies. The calculated reference intervals can be used to assess the development of children, particularly for measurements performed by the Immulite and Immulite 2000 chemiluminescence assay systems.
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              Evaluation of adrenal function in patients with growth hormone deficiency and hypothalamic-pituitary disorders: comparison between insulin-induced hypoglycemia, low-dose ACTH, standard ACTH and CRH stimulation tests.

              Patients with organic growth hormone deficiency (GHD) or with structural hypothalamic-pituitary abnormalities may have additional anterior pituitary hormone deficits, and are at risk of developing complete or partial corticotropin (ACTH) deficiency. Evaluation of the integrity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) is essential in these patients because, although clinically asymptomatic, their HPA cannot appropriately react to stressful stimuli with potentially life-threatening consequences. In this study we evaluated the integrity of the HPA in 24 patients (age 4.2-31 years at the time of the study) with an established diagnosis of GHD and compared the reliability of the insulin tolerance test (ITT), short synacthen test (SST), low-dose SST (LDSST), and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) test in the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency. At a cortisol cut-off for a normal response of 550 nmol/l (20 microg/dl), the response to ITT was subnormal in 11 subjects, 6 with congenital and 5 with acquired GHD. Four patients had overt adrenal insufficiency, with morning cortisol concentrations ranging between 66.2-135.2 nmol/l (2.4-4.9 microg/dl) and typical clinical symptoms and laboratory findings. In all these patients, a subnormal cortisol response to ITT was confirmed by LDSST and by CRH tests. SST failed to identify one of the patients as adrenal insufficient. In the seven asymptomatic patients with a subnormal cortisol response to ITT, the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency was confirmed in one by LDSST, in none by SST, and in five by CRH tests. The five patients with a normal cortisol response to ITT exhibited a normal response also after LDSST and SST. Only two of them had a normal response after a CRH test. In the seven patients with asymptomatic adrenal insufficiency mean morning cortisol concentration was significantly higher than in the patients with overt adrenal insufficiency. ITT was contraindicated in eight patients, and none of them had clinical symptoms of overt adrenal insufficiency. One of these patients had a subnormal cortisol response to LDSST, SST, and CRH, and three exhibited a subnormal response to CRH but normal responses to LDSST and to SST. We conclude that none of these tests can be considered completely reliable for establishing or excluding the presence of secondary or tertiary adrenal insufficiency. Consequently, clinical judgment remains one of the most important issues for deciding which patients need assessment or re-assessment of adrenal function.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                November 2014
                24 October 2014
                : 82
                : 5
                : 332-337
                aEndocrine Service, and bPharmacy, Parenteral Nutrition Area, Hospital de Pediatría Garrahan, Buenos Aires, Argentina
                Author notes
                *Dr. Alicia Belgorosky, Endocrine Service, Hospital de Pediatría Garrahan, Combate de los Pozos 1881, Buenos Aires 1245 (Argentina), E-Mail abelgo@netizen.com.ar
                368318 Horm Res Paediatr 2014;82:332-337
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Pages: 6
                Original Paper


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