Adrenal antibodies detect asymptomatic auto-immune adrenal insufficiency in young women with spontaneous premature ovarian failure

V.K. Bakalov
2002 Human Reproduction  
BACKGROUND: Auto-immune adrenal insufficiency is a potentially fatal disorder. Young women with spontaneous premature ovarian failure (POF) are at increased risk of developing this condition. METHODS: We further characterized auto-immune adrenal insufficiency in this population by conducting an in-depth cross-sectional evaluation of adrenal function in a series of 123 women. RESULTS: We uncovered a new diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency in four women [3.2%, 95% confidence interval (CI)
more » ... erval (CI) 0.2-6.4%]. All four tested positive for adrenal antibodies as detected by a clinically available indirect immunofluorescence assay. A positive adrenal antibody test was highly associated with adrenal insufficiency while a negative test was associated with normal adrenal function in all cases (P Ͻ 0.001). Adrenal antibodies increased the pretest probability of adrenal insufficiency from 3.2 to 67%. As a screening method the cortisol response during a standard adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) stimulation test gave two false positive results (1.7%, upper 95% confidence limit 5.0%). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that measuring adrenal antibodies would be an effective screening method by which to detect autoimmune adrenal insufficiency in young women with spontaneous POF. The standard ACTH stimulation test should be reserved to confirm adrenal insufficiency in women with adrenal antibodies, or those with signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency.
doi:10.1093/humrep/17.8.2096 pmid:12151443 fatcat:ffasu72kk5fnlnt2zppennpsde