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      Longitudinal Evaluation of Salivary Cortisol Levels in Full-Term and Preterm Neonates

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          The aim of the present study was to test the practicability of sequential cortisol determinations in saliva of low birth weight neonates and to evaluate the impact of systemic and inhaled glucocorticoid therapy on saliva concentrations of cortisol in preterm neonates with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Salivary cortisol levels were measured by RIA in saliva samples from 10 full-term and 10 preterm healthy neonates and from 20 preterm neonates with BPD during systemic [dexamethasone (DEX); n = 10] or topical steroid therapy [budesonide (BUD); n = 10]. Saliva samples of each individual were collected on 3 consecutive days at 06.00, 12.00, 18.00 and 24.00 h. Cortisol levels in saliva ranged from 0.8 to 60.6 nmol/l (median 6.5 nmol/l) in full-term neonates, from 0.6 to 52.1 nmol/l (median 5.5 nmol/l) in preterm neonates, from 0.4 to 14.0 nmol/l (median 1.0 nmol/l) in preterm neonates treated with DEX and from 0.4 to 15.2 nmol/l (median 2.5 nmol/l) in preterm neonates treated with BUD. Autocorrelation analysis revealed a distinct endogenous cortisol rhythm in 2 of the 10 healthy full-term neonates and in 3 of the 10 healthy preterm neonates with a wavelength of 12–30 h. Salivary cortisol levels in preterm neonates treated with DEX or BUD were significantly lower than those measured in healthy preterm neonates. These results demonstrate that the measurement of salivary cortisol levels is a reliable and practicable way of assessing adrenal function in full-term and preterm neonates. This study also shows for the first time that some neonates display an endogenous cortisol rhythm which is not coupled to the exogenous day/night cycle. Furthermore, systemic and nebulized glucocorticoids suppress adrenal function in low-birth-weight neonates. After treatment these children should be closely monitored for potential adrenal insufficiency.

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          Most cited references 4

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          Low-dose adrenocorticotropin test reveals impaired adrenal function in patients taking inhaled corticosteroids

           J Broide (1995)
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            Growth and pituitary-adrenal function in children with severe asthma treated with inhaled budesonide.

            The increased use of inhaled corticosteroids in the management of asthma raises concern about the safety of these drugs in children. We sought to determine the safety of long-term administration of inhaled budesonide in young children with asthma. We studied 15 children 2 to 7 years old who had severe perennial asthma. They inhaled 100 micrograms of budesonide twice daily for three to five years. Efficacy was assessed by serial evaluation of respiratory symptoms and the need for other medications, and safety by serial evaluation of height, height velocity, weight, bone age, and pituitary-adrenal function. The severity of asthma decreased within the first month after the initiation of therapy, as demonstrated by a 58 percent reduction in the number of days with symptoms of asthma and a 75 percent decrease in the use of bronchodilators. This improvement was maintained thereafter. The growth pattern of all patients, including their height, weight, and bone age, was normal (as compared with standard normal values) throughout the treatment period. Pituitary-adrenal function was not adversely affected by the treatment, as demonstrated by normal serum cortisol concentrations in the morning and 60 minutes after stimulation with corticotropin, normal 24-hour serum cortisol concentrations (mean [+/- SD] of samples collected at 30-minute intervals for 24 hours, 8.4 +/- 4.2 micrograms per deciliter [232 +/- 116 nmol per liter]), and normal urinary cortisol excretion (34 +/- 9 micrograms [95 +/- 25 nmol] per day). Prolonged administration of 200 micrograms of inhaled budesonide daily to young children with severe asthma does not impair growth or pituitary-adrenal function.
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              Adrenal steroidogenesis in very low birth weight preterm infants


                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                December 1998
                12 February 1999
                : 50
                : 6
                : 303-308
                Department of Paediatrics, a Paediatric Endocrinology, and b Neonatology, c Department of Pharmacology, University of Heidelberg, and d Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Endocrinology, University of Bonn, Germany
                23295 Horm Res 1998;50:303–308
                © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, References: 32, Pages: 6
                Original Paper


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