The corticotropin-releasing hormone test in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder

Mark A. Smith, Jonathan Davidson, James C. Ritchie, Harold Kudler, Stephen Lipper, Phillip Chappell, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

183 Scopus citations


To evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we measured adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) and cortisol responses following administration of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in 8 combat veterans with chronic PTSD. The PTSD patients had a significantly lower ACTH response to CRH compared to a control group of normal volunteers. Blunted ACTH responses occurred in patients with PTSD alone, as well as those PTSD patients who also had major depression. The cortisol response, although reduced, was not significantly different from normal. The blunted ACTH response to CRH in PTSD patients is similar to that seen in other psychiatric disorders, such as depression, panic disorder, and anorexia nervosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-355
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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