Hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activity predicts disease progression in multiple sclerosis

J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Aug;165(1-2):186-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2005.04.014.


Clinical studies have shown that groups of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients exhibit a chronically activated hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. However, the association of HPA axis activity and disease progression in MS is unknown. In this longitudinal study over a 3-year follow-up period, we report that patients who exhibited stronger HPA reactivity at baseline were significantly more likely to experience progression as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) during the follow-up period. Furthermore, HPA axis activity correlated with progression ratings and cognitive impairment three years later. Tests of HPA axis activity may be useful biomarkers for disease progression in MS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / physiopathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone