Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1997; 105(1): 39-45
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1211725

© J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Physical stress-induced secretion of adrenal and pituitary hormones in patients with atopic eczema compared with normal controls

M. Rupprecht1 , B. Salzer1 , B. Raum1 , O. P. Hornstein1 , H. U. Koch1 , P. Riederer2 , E. Sofic2 , R. Rupprecht3
  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
  • 3Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Clinical Institute, Munich, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
14 July 2009 (online)


Atopic eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin disease which shares some psychological and neuroendocrine disturbances with patients suffering from depression. In view of recent findings of an attenuated response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system in patients with atopic eczema during a human corticotropin-releasing hormone (hCRH) challenge paradigm fourteen consecutive non-specifically trained in-patients with atopic eczema (8 men, 6 women) and an age-matched control group (8 men, 6 women) performed exhausting incremental graded bicycle exercise to evaluate Cortisol, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), β-endorphin, epinephrine and norepinephrine releases induced by physical stress. The exercise yielded significant increases in Cortisol, ACTH, β-endorphin, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine concentrations in both groups. Patients with severe eczema displayed a significantly lower increase in norepinephrine levels when compared with the less affected patient group. In contrast to the challenge with exogenous hCRH no substantial difference in the net responses of ACTH and Cortisol could be detected between patients with atopic eczema and controls using the physical stress paradigm. These substantial differences in the net outcome between both challenges may be related to the potential synergizing effects of various neuropeptides, e.g. CRH and vasopressin, when activating the HPA system by challenges at a suprapituitary site which may override subtle disturbances in the responsivity of the HPA system as revealed by CRH challenge alone in patients with at opic eczema.