Cerebrospinal fluid estrone in pseudotumor cerebri: a change in cerebral steroid hormone metabolism?

J Endocrinol Invest. 1991 Feb;14(2):81-6. doi: 10.1007/BF03350271.


Estrogen and androgen hormones were studied in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of five patients affected by pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). Six men and six women without cerebral or endocrine diseases were selected as controls. Androstenedione (A), testosterone (T), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OH-P), E1 and E2 were measured in plasma and CSF in baseline conditions and following 1 month prednisone therapy (2 mg/die, per os) using RIA following chromatographic separation on celite microcolumns. Men and women affected by PTC show increased CSF E1 levels and marked decreased CSF A levels, with respect to controls. In plasma, on the contrary, normal values of these parameters were observed in PTC. In normal subjects A/E1 ratio shows the same values in plasma and CSF, suggesting for the two hormones analogous feasibility to cross the blood brain barrier. In PTC patients A/E1 ratio is comparable to controls in plasma, but lower in CSF as a result of decreased A and increased E1 contents. The CSF imbalance between A and E1 attenuates but does not disappear after treatment. No correlation is found between pressure levels and steroid pattern both in baseline condition or after one month of treatment. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that PTC is not only associated with increased CSF E1 levels, as previously suggested, but, above all, with decreased CSF A levels and this hormonal impairement seems to be confined to the CSF compartment and not observed in plasma. These data do not lead to any definitive conclusion about the role of altered CSF estrogen and androgen levels in PTC pathogenesis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Estrone / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood
  • Hormones / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / drug therapy
  • Sex Factors
  • Steroids / metabolism*
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Hormones
  • Steroids
  • Estrone