An initial exploration of in vivo hair cortisol responses to a brief pain stressor: Latency, localization and independence effects

C. F. Sharpley*, K. G. Kauter, James R. McFarlane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Cortisol is secreted by the central hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and affects many target organs and tissues, particularly in response to stressor demands and infection. Recent data reporting cortisol synthesis in hair follicles have shown the existence of a parallel "peripheral" HPA-axis. However, although there is evidence from in vitro studies and single-observation comparisons between groups that cortisol from hair follicles reflects endocrine changes associated with stressor demands, there are no reports to date of repeated measurements of in vivo cortisol responsivity in hair to transitory stressors. This issue was investigated with three males who underwent 1 min cold pressor test (CP). Cortisol response in hair to stressor demand appears to be (a) swift but transitory, (b) localized to the site of the demand and (c) independent of central HPA-axis activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-761
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiological Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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