Adrenocortical function in infants and children has been studied rather extensively in the past few years. This problem has been reviewed by Klein, Gardner, and Migeon.1-3 Considerable difference of opinion exists as to the exact state of adrenocortical function in these age groups, but there is general agreement that changes do occur in secretion and/or metabolism of adrenal steroids between birth and maturity.
Corticosterone was postulated by Eagle and Wolfson4 as the principal adrenocortical secretory product of the premature infant on the basis of data concerning urinary steroid excretion. The 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS) are lower in general in cord blood than in the maternal circulation at the time of delivery5-7 and have been considered to represent maternal hormone transferred by the placenta.6 Quiescence of the newborn adrenal has been inferred from the low 17-OHCS levels found in plasma on the third day of life8 though corticotropin
HUGHES ER, SEELY JR, KELLEY VC, ELY RS. Corticosteroid Levels Before and After Corticotropin. Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(6):605–609. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030605004