ALTHOUGH there are many direct effects of 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (170HS) on the central nervous system (CNS),1 a diurnal change in CNS activity produced by a diurnal change in blood 170HS levels has not been demonstrated. In animals, 170HS increase brain excitability,1,2 lower seizure thresholds,1,2 increase behavioral and electrical arousal,2-4 increase amplitudes and decrease latencies of evoked responses in several multisynaptic pathways,2,5 and alter free-operant avoidance behavior.6 Single unit studies are more complex as they demonstrate both excitation and inhibition following cortisol (hydrocortisone).7,8 In humans, 17OHS often alter the electroencephalogram and increase seizure frequency.9,10 In adrenal insufficiency, 17OHS normalize the EEG,11 the low olfactory,12 gustatory,13 and auditory detection thresholds,14 and shorten the latency of the visual evoked response.15 A significant positive correlation has been reported between urinary 170HS levels and seizures in one case16 and
Heninger GR, McDonald RK, Goff WR, Sollberger A. Diurnal Variations in the Cerebral Evoked Response and EEG: Relations to 17-Hydroxycorticosteroid Levels. Arch Neurol. 1969;21(3):330–337. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480150120015
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