Cortisol levels in septic shock

The levels of serum cortisol and cortisol precursors in 30 term or near-term infants with blood-stream infection and refractory shock were compared with levels in 30 similar infected infants without shock. Compared to the control infants, infants with shock had similar (normal) levels of cortisol, but had significantly higher levels of dehydroepiandrosterone, 17 hydroxy pregenenolone, pregenenolone and progesterone. These elevated levels of cortisol precursors upstream of 3 betahydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity were consistent with a decreased activity of this enzyme. Relative adrenal insufficiency likely contributed to the refractory shock.

Term neonates with infection and shock display high cortisol precursos. Khashana et al, 2015.