Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function and glucocorticoid sensitivity in atopic dermatitis

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    Objectives. Topical glucocorticoids (GCs) fail to produce a clinical response in some children with atopic dermatitis (AD), suggesting that GC resistance may be present. To determine whether such resistance is generalized or specific to diseased skin, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function has been assessed in children with moderate to severe AD, who showed a variable response to treatment with topical GC. Study Design. Thirty-five patients (.7-18.7 years old; median: 9.3 years) with AD requiring topical GCs from infancy underwent a low-dose adrenocorticotrophin hormone (ACTH; Synacthen) test (LDST) (500 ng/1.73 m2 ACTH). Groups 1 (7 patients), 2 (17 patients), and 3 (4 patients) used mild, moderate, or potent/very potent topical preparations, respectively. Group 4 (7 boys with severe, treatment-resistant disease) had received GC in at least i form (inhaled ± intranasal ± oral) in addition to varying potencies of topical GC. Fourteen healthy subjects (3.8-17.3 years old) served as control subjects. Group 4 patients had a daytime plasma cortisol profile and 08.00 hours measurement of plasma ACTH and its precursors. Results. The response to ACTH for groups 1 and 2 did not differ from that of control subjects. Group 3 had lower peak, increment, and area under curve cortisol responses than those in controls, whereas group 4 had lower baseline, peak, and area under curve cortisol responses. Eight patients failed the LDST (peak cortisol
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)794-799
    Number of pages5
    Issue number4 I
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000


    • Adrenal suppression
    • Atopic dermatitis
    • Glucocorticoid resistance
    • Glucocorticoid sensitivity


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