The pituitary-adrenal axis in idiopathic retinal vasculitis

H E Palmer, M R Stanford, C Lowy, M J Wheeler, G R Wallace, E M Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: To determine whether patients with idiopathic retinal vasculitis have altered production of cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), and whether differences in these variables occur between those who are sensitive (SS) and resistant (SR) to steroids.

METHODS: 20 patients with retinal vasculitis (off treatment) and 10 control subjects were prospectively recruited. Morning cortisol and DHEA-S levels were measured, and cortisol secretion rates and short synacthen tests (SST) carried out in patients before treatment, when on prednisolone 20 mg/day, and in controls.

RESULTS: There were no differences in any variables between patients and controls. For retinal vasculitis patients pretreatment, the SST was lower in SR patients (p=0.02). More of the SR patients had ischaemic retinal vasculitis ( p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Cortisol and DHEA-S are not involved in the pathogenesis of retinal vasculitis. SR in retinal vasculitis may be associated with a defective hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-5
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Male
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System
  • Prednisolone
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Diseases
  • Retinal Vessels
  • Vasculitis


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