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Zina Barrou, Dominique Guiban, Amel Maroufi, Claudine Fournier, Marie-Annick Dugué, Jean-Pierre Luton, and Pierre Thomopoulos

Barrou Z, Guiban D, Maroufi A, Fournier C, Dugué M-A, Luton J-P. Thomopoulos P. Overnight dexamethasone suppression test: comparison of plasma and salivary cortisol measurement for the screening of Cushing's syndrome. Eur J Endocrinol 1996:134:93–6. ISSN 0804–4643

The overnight 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test is a very good screening test for subjects suspected of having Cushing's syndrome. To simplify the procedure, we evaluated the 1-mg dexamethasone suppression test with measurement of salivary cortisol. We performed this test with plasma and salivary cortisol measurements in 27 patients with Cushing's syndrome and 64 normal controls. The sensitivity and specificity of plasma cortisol measurements were 100% and 87%, respectively, for a cut-off point of 100 nmol/l, in accordance with previous studies. The results of salivary cortisol showed the absence of overlap between the two groups, with a sensitivity and specificity of 100% for a cut-off point of 2.8 nmol/l, On a larger series, however, one might occasionally miss the diagnosis of a patient with Cushing's syndrome. Therefore, we favor a cut-off point of 1.9 nmol/l, the sensitivity remaining at 100% and the specificity being 94%. In conclusion we recommend the overnight dexamethasone suppression test with measurement of salivary cortisol as a screening test for Cushing's syndrome.

Pierre Thomopoulos. Clinique des maladies endocriniennes et métaboliques. Hôpital Cochin, 27 rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris, France

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Alix Besançon, Jacques Beltrand, Isabelle Le Gac, Dominique Luton, and Michel Polak


Hyperthyroidism in neonates born to mothers with Graves' disease (GD) can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality, but is still overlooked by clinicians. Management of neonatal hyperthyroidism would be improved by a better understanding of the predictive factors involved. The aim of this study was to evaluate the course of thyroid function and clinical outcomes during the first postnatal month in babies born to mothers with GD.


Prospective observational study.


Sixty-eight neonates born to mothers with GD were managed from birth and divided into three groups based on thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb) and anti-thyroid drug (ATD) status in the mother: TRAb−ve/ATD−ve, n=27; TRAb−ve/ATD+ ve, n=8; and TRAb+ve/ATD+ve, n=33. The main outcome measures were clinical examination, thyroid function tests (TSH, free thyroxine (FT4), free triiodothyronine, and TRAb), echocardiography, thyroid ultrasonography, and bone maturation assessment.


None of the infants born to TRAb−ve mothers with GD developed neonatal hyperthyroidism. Of the 33 TRAb+ve/ATD+ve neonates, 24 (72.7%) had positive TRAb on cord blood assays, and seven of these developed neonatal hyperthyroidism. FT4 elevation between days 3 and 7 but not at birth was predictive of the development of hyperthyroidism.


TRAb status should be checked in the third trimester in mothers with GD and on cord blood in their neonates; if positive, it indicates a high risk of neonatal hyperthyroidism. FT4 measurement at birth should be repeated between days 3 and 5 (and by day 7 at the latest); rapid FT4 elevation during the first postnatal week is predictive of hyperthyroidism and warrants ATD therapy.