Serum concentrations of deoxycorticosterone in women during the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle are not suppressed by dexamethasone treatment.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We determined the serum levels of deoxycorticosterone (DOC) in plasma of six healthy, apparently ovulatory women during the mid-follicular and mid-luteal phases of their ovarian cycles; and we evaluated the effect of dexamethasone (1 mg by mouth) on the concentrations of DOC and cortisol in serum at times when plasma progesterone levels were high or low. The serum levels of DOC, unlike those of cortisol, did not vary significantly in single blood samples obtained in the morning (8-10 a.m.) and afternoon (3-5 p.m.); and serum DOC levels in women were significantly higher (P less than 0.05) during the mid-luteal phase than during the mid-follicular phase of the cycle. There were unmistakable diurnal variations in serum levels of cortisol, and cortisol concentrations were reduced to less than 20% of pretreatment levels after the ingestion of 1 mg dexamethasone during the mid-follicular or mid-luteal phase. The serum concentrations of DOC were reduced only to approx 70% of pretreatment levels after dexamethasone ingestion during the follicular phase. The serum levels of DOC did not decline significantly after administration of dexamethasone during the mid-luteal phase, when progesterone levels in serum are high (14-16 ng/ml). Blood samples also were obtained at hourly intervals during the 24 h before and after dexamethasone administration in one woman during the follicular phase and in another woman the during the early luteal phase (progesterone levels = 1-3 ng/ml) of the ovarian cycle. DOC levels (pre-dexamethasone) fluctuated in synchrony with those of cortisol in the woman studied during the follicular phase but not in the woman studied during the early luteal phase of the cycle. In the post-dexamethasone period, plasma cortisol levels were suppressed for at least 24 h in both women whereas DOC levels were decreased only partially. We conclude that plasma DOC is derived from both adrenal secretion and from extraadrenal 21-hydroxylation of progesterone--the latter source of DOC is not affected by dexamethasone suppression of ACTH secretion.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Parker, CR; Rush, AJ; MacDonald, PC

Published Date

  • September 1, 1983

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 1313 - 1317

PubMed ID

  • 6621037

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-4731

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0022-4731(83)90156-5


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England