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Salivary cortisol response to awakening in chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Amanda D. L. Roberts (a1), Simon Wessely (a2), Trudie Chalder (a2), Andrew Papadopoulos (a3) and Anthony J. Cleare (a4)...

Abstract

Background

There is accumulating evidence of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis disturbances in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The salivary cortisol response to awakening has been described recently as a non-invasive test of the capacity of the HPA axis to respond to stress. The results of this test correlate closely with those of more invasive dynamic tests reported in the literature; furthermore, it can be undertaken in a naturalistic setting.

Aims

To assess the HPA axis using the salivary cortisol response to awakening in CFS.

Method

We measured salivary cortisol upon awakening and 10, 20, 30 and 60 min afterwards in 56 patients with CFS and 35 healthy volunteers.

Results

Patients had a lower cortisol response to awakening, measured by the area under the curve.

Conclusions

This naturalistic test of the HPA axis response to stress showed impaired HPA axis function in CFS.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Anthony Cleare, Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Institute of Psychiatry, Weston Education Centre, Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9RJ, UK. Tel: 020 7848 5130; fax: 020 7848 5408; e-mail: a.cleare@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes

References

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Salivary cortisol response to awakening in chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Amanda D. L. Roberts (a1), Simon Wessely (a2), Trudie Chalder (a2), Andrew Papadopoulos (a3) and Anthony J. Cleare (a4)...
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