Several neuropsychiatric illness, including depression and Alzheimer's disease, are reported to be characterized by hypercortisolemia and by reduced levels of cerebrospinal fluid somatostatin-like immunoreactivity (CSF-SLI). To investigate a possible causal linkage between these abnormalities we administered prednisone, 80 mg orally per day for 5 days, to 9 healthy volunteers. We observed significant prednisone-induced reductions in CSF-SLI. Moreover, the magnitude of these reductions was inversely related to the magnitude of prednisone-induced reductions in plasma ACTH levels, suggesting a functional interaction between circulating corticosteroids, central somatostatin and pituitary ACTH release.
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