Adrenal and pituitary hormone patterns after spinal cord injury

Denise I. Campagnolo*, Jacqueline A. Bartlett, Robert Chatterton, Steven E. Keller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Current evidence indicates that the neuroendocrine system is the highest regulator of immune/inflammatory reactions. We hypothesized that immune alterations, which were related to the level of injury, found in a cohort of spinal cord-injured subjects may be influenced by altered hormonal patterns postinjury. Therefore, we investigated aspects of both pituitary and adrenal function in the same cohort of spinal cord-injured subjects. We found significant elevations in both cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in chronic spinal cord-injured survivors compared with their able-bodied age- and gender-matched controls. Levels of dehydroepiandrosterone, adrenocorticotropin, and prolactin were not different in spinal cord-injured subjects overall compared with their controls. Both dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and dehydroepiandrosterone were higher in tetraplegics compared with their controls, but we found no such differences in paraplegics compared with their controls. When the two groups of spinal cord-injured subjects were compared with each other, we also found differences between these two subject groups in dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and dehydroepiandrosterone (higher in the tetraplegics compared with paraplegics). We found no differences between either group of spinal cord-injured subjects and their controls for adrenocorticotropin, prolactin, or cortisol. These data suggest that some hormonal differences between subjects and their controls may be further related to the level of injury (specifically dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone). Finally, we investigated correlations within subjects for the above hormones. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and prolactin were highly correlated (the higher the dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, the higher the prolactin) but only in the tetraplegic subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999


  • Immune System
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System
  • Spinal Cord Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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