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Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis hormones and cortisol in both menstrual phases of women with chronic fatigue syndrome and effect of depressive mood on these hormones *

Background

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease which defined as medically unexplained, disabling fatigue of 6 months or more duration and often accompanied by several of a long list of physical complaints. We aimed to investigate abnormalities of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis hormones and cortisol concentrations in premenopausal women with CFS and find out effects of depression rate on these hormones.

Methods

We examined follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, progesterone and cortisol concentrations in 43 premenopausal women (mean age: 32.86 ± 7.11) with CFS and compared matched 35 healthy controls (mean age: 31.14 ± 6.19). Patients were divided according to menstrual cycle phases (follicular and luteal) and compared with matched phase controls. Depression rate was assessed by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and patients with high BDI scores were compared to patients with low BDI scores.

Results

There were no significant differences in FSH, LH, estradiol and progesterone levels in both of menstrual phases of patients versus controls. Cortisol levels were significantly lower in patients compared to controls. There were no significant differences in all hormone levels in patients with high depression scores versus patients with low depression scores.

Conclusion

In spite of high depression rate, low cortisol concentration and normal HPG axis hormones of both menstrual phases are detected in premenopausal women with CFS. There is no differentiation between patients with high and low depression rate in all hormone levels. Depression condition of CFS may be different from classical depression and evaluation of HPG and HPA axis should be performed for understanding of pathophysiology of CFS and planning of treatment.

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Published on 11-13-2007