Alterations in diurnal salivary cortisol rhythm in a population-based sample of cases with chronic fatigue syndrome

Urs M. Nater, Laura Solomon Youngblood, James F. Jones, Elizabeth R. Unger, Andrew H. Miller, William C. Reeves, Christine Marcelle Heim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine diurnal salivary cortisol rhythms and plasma IL-6 concentrations in persons with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), persons not fulfilling a diagnosis of CFS (we term them cases with insufficient symptoms or fatigue, ISF) and nonfatigued controls (NF). Previous studies of CFS patients have implicated the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the immune system in the pathophysiology of CFS, although results have been equivocal. METHODS: Twenty-eight people with CFS, 35 persons with ISF, and 39 NF identified from the general population of Wichita, Kansas, were admitted to a research ward for 2 days. Saliva was collected immediately on awakening (6:30 am), at 08:00 am, 12 noon, 4:00 pm, 8:00 pm and at bedtime (10:00 pm) and plasma was obtained at 7:30 am. Salivary cortisol concentrations were assessed using radioimmunoassay, and plasma IL-6 was measured using sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: People with CFS demonstrated lower salivary cortisol concentrations in the morning and higher salivary cortisol concentrations in the evening compared with both ISF and NF groups indicating a flattening of the diurnal cortisol profile. Mean plasma IL-6 concentrations were highest in CFS compared with the other groups, although these differences were no longer significant after controlling for BMI. Attenuated decline of salivary cortisol concentrations across the day and IL-6 concentration were associated with fatigue symptoms in CFS. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest an altered diurnal cortisol rhythm and IL-6 concentrations in CFS cases identified from a population-based sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume70
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Hydrocortisone
Interleukin-6
Population
Fatigue
Circadian Rhythm
Saliva
Radioimmunoassay
Immune System
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Control Groups

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Nater, Urs M. ; Youngblood, Laura Solomon ; Jones, James F. ; Unger, Elizabeth R. ; Miller, Andrew H. ; Reeves, William C. ; Heim, Christine Marcelle. / Alterations in diurnal salivary cortisol rhythm in a population-based sample of cases with chronic fatigue syndrome. In: Psychosomatic medicine. 2008 ; Vol. 70, No. 3. pp. 298-305.
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Alterations in diurnal salivary cortisol rhythm in a population-based sample of cases with chronic fatigue syndrome. / Nater, Urs M.; Youngblood, Laura Solomon; Jones, James F.; Unger, Elizabeth R.; Miller, Andrew H.; Reeves, William C.; Heim, Christine Marcelle.

In: Psychosomatic medicine, Vol. 70, No. 3, 01.01.2008, p. 298-305.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Nater, Urs M.

AU - Youngblood, Laura Solomon

AU - Jones, James F.

AU - Unger, Elizabeth R.

AU - Miller, Andrew H.

AU - Reeves, William C.

AU - Heim, Christine Marcelle

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