Abstract. We investigated the value of serum levels of adrenal steroids (dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, testosterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, cortisol) in the identification in peripubertal females with late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia owing to 21-hydroxylase deficiency. Among 68 females (age 3–18 years) with virilization in childhood, peripubertally or postpubertally, we selected 21 girls for an ACTH test by measurement of basal blood-spot or serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) levels. Eight of 21 patients had supranormal post-ACTH serum 17-OHP concentration (57–153 nmol/l) with low normal cortisol concentration. All of them had supranormal basal and post-ACTH 17-OHP to cortisol ratios. These data show a relatively high incidence (about 12%) of mild 21-hydroxylase deficiency among prepubertal and adolescent girls with virilization. It is concluded that the first step in the investigation of peripubertally virilized girls should be the determination of serum 17-OHP and cortisol. Patients with basal morning 17-OHP concentration and 17-OHP to cortisol ratio above reference range should be given an ACTH test.
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