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Medicina (Buenos Aires)

Print version ISSN 0025-7680


MAIDANA, Patricia; BRUNO, Oscar D.  and  MESCH, Viviana. A critical analysis of cortisol measurements: an update. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2013, vol.73, n.6, pp.579-584. ISSN 0025-7680.

Serum cortisol measurement is a very useful tool in the biochemical evaluation of adrenocortical function. Since this hormone circulates in blood mainly linked to binding globulins but is also partially free, it can be measured not only in the blood but also in urine, saliva and other biological fluids and tissues. Basal determinations as well as dynamic testing may be performed to evaluate the circadian variations, to estimate the diurnal cortisol secretion and to analyze its relations with other components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Measurements of cortisol in blood, saliva and urine may reflect the cortisol secretion at the time of sample collection or during a 24 h span. Recently, it has been proposed the determination of cortisol in tissues such as hair and nails like a means of evaluating the hormonal status during prolonged periods. The aim of this paper is to update the methodology for measuring cortisol and its usefulness for the clinical diagnosis of troubles of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Keywords : Serum cortisol; Urinary free cortisol; Salivary cortisol; Corticosteroid binding protein; Cushing syndrome; Adrenal insufficiency.

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