Effects of dexamethasone on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in preterm infants

J Pediatr. 1992 Jun;120(6):961-5. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)81971-7.


The effects of dexamethasone therapy on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis were tested in 10 premature infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia by means of the corticotropin-releasing hormone stimulation test before therapy and on the seventh day of therapy. Adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. There was significant suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis after 7 days of a currently used dexamethasone treatment regimen. A site of suppression was located at the level of the pituitary gland.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / drug therapy*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Time Factors


  • Dexamethasone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone