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Krumbholz, Aniko; Anielski, Patricia; Reisch, Nicole; Schelling, Gustav; Thieme, Detlef (October 2013): Diagnostic Value of Concentration Profiles of Glucocorticosteroids and Endocannabinoids in Hair. In: Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Vol. 35, No. 5: pp. 600-607




Background:Endogenous corticosteroids and endocannabinoids are both known to be involved in stress adaption and anti-inflammatory and immuneregulatory effects. The application of hair as retrospective specimen for long-term recording of corticosteroids and its association with stress-induced biochemical alterations was intensively examined.Methods:To evaluate the stability and correlation of various parameters of the endocannabinoid and corticosteroid systems, a prospective study was carried out. Hair samples were collected monthly over a pregnancy cycle (sixth week of pregnancy to 9 weeks postpartum). By comparison of hair concentrations in particular segments (ie, grown in the same time span but collected at different times), an examination of analyte stability in hair was achieved. Additionally, the comparison of proximal segments provided on biochemical information that is independent of alteration due to physical instability. The detection limits of a validated procedure using solid-phase extraction cleanup and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry proved to be suitable to identify the endogenous levels of cortisol (limits of detection = 1.6 pg/mg), cortisone (2.1 pg/mg), anandamide (AEA, 0.3 pg/mg), and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (15 pg/mg).Results:Corticosteroid concentrations in corresponding hair segments were found to be reduced with increasing hair age; an average decline of cortisol and cortisone by 50% in 4 months was estimated. Independently, an increase of cortisol and cortisone in proximal segments collected during pregnancy was confirmed, which is assumed to be stress related. Endocannabinoids proved to be by far more stable, as demonstrated by subsequent monthly collection of corresponding segments and there was hardly any washout of AEA detectable. Elevated hair concentrations of AEA and 2-arachidonoylglycerol were detected in the first-second trimester of pregnancy, which corresponds to negative correlations between AEA, cortisol, and cortisone.