There is evidence for a hypofunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in a proportion of the patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), despite the negative studies and methodological difficulties. In this review, we focus on challenge studies and on the role of the HPA axis in the pathogenesis of CFS. Mild hypocortisolism, blunted adrenocorticotropin response to stressors and enhanced negative feedback sensitivity to glucocorticoids are the main findings. Several underlying mechanisms have been proposed. Currently, it is a matter of debate whether these disturbances have a primary role in the pathogenesis of CFS. However, even if the HPA axis dysfunctions are secondary to other factors, they are probably a relevant factor in symptom propagation in CFS.
© 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel
- Challenge test
- Corticotropin-releasing factor
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Filip Van Den Eede, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Antwerp (UZA)
BE–2650 Edegem (Belgium)
Tel. +32 3 821 49 11, Fax +32 3 825 16 41, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: August 29, 2006
Accepted after revision: March 17, 2007
Published online: June 27, 2007
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 1, Number of References : 83
Neuropsychobiology (International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research in Biological Psychiatry, Pharmacopsychiatry, Biological Psychology/Pharmacopsychology and Pharmacoelectroencephalography)
Vol. 55, No. 2, Year 2007 (Cover Date: July 2007)
Journal Editor: Strik, W. (Bern)
ISSN: 0302–282X (print), 1423–0224 (Online)
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