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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in infantile malnutrition.

We studied the circadian rhythm and the response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to ovine corticotrophin releasing hormone (oCRH) stimulation and dexamethasone suppression in 32 children with grade II-III marasmus. Children were studied prior to and after nutritional rehabilitation. Mean baseline plasma cortisol concentrations were elevated at admission and decreased significantly after nutritional rehabilitation. Mean +/- SEM plasma cortisol response to oCRH increased from a basal of 480 +/- 41 to a peak of 582 +/- 58 nmol/l at the time of admission, and from a basal of 234 +/- 27 to a peak of 532 +/- 41 nmol/l after caloric rehabilitation. Dexamethasone suppression in the malnourished group was associated with a decrease in the mean +/- SEM basal plasma cortisol concentration from 397 +/- 44 to 171 +/- 44 nmol/l. After caloric rehabilitation, basal cortisol levels decreased from 259 +/- 27 to 22 +/- 5 nmol/l following dexamethasone. Our results support the concept that malnutrition is associated with decreased responsiveness to oCRH and incomplete dexamethasone suppression, and that these abnormalities are restored after nutritional rehabilitation.[1]


  1. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in infantile malnutrition. Malozowski, S., Muzzo, S., Burrows, R., Leiva, L., Loriaux, L., Chrousos, G., Winterer, J., Cassorla, F. Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf) (1990) [Pubmed]
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