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J Trauma Stress. 2003 Aug;16(4):319-23.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity among Armenian adolescents with PTSD symptoms.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, UCLA School of Medicine Los Angles, California 90064, USA.


This study evaluated basal levels and responsiveness to exercise of plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), growth hormone (GH) and cortisol among adolescents from two differentially exposed groups 6 1/2 years after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. Severity of total PTSD and Category C and D symptoms were negatively correlated with baseline cortisol. Preexercise ACTH was significantly lower, and preexercise TSH higher, among adolescents with more exposure. Depressive symptoms were negatively correlated with baseline cortisol and positively with TSH. Mean GH, TSH, and cortisol levels in both groups fell within normal limits. The pre- to postexercise increase in GH, TSH, and cortisol suggests that exercise challenge may be useful in the field investigation of neurohormonal activity among traumatized individuals.

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