Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 671–675

Hyperthermia in sauna is unable to increase the plasma levels of ACTH/Cortisol, ß-endorphin and prolactin in cocaine addicts

  • P. P. Vescovi
  • V. Coiro
  • R. Volpi
  • A. Giannini
  • M. Passeri


In order to establish possible different reactions between normal subjects and cocaine addicts to short term exposure to heat, thermal, cardiovascular and pituitary hormonal responses to hyperthermia in sauna were measured in 8 male cocaine addicts (studied after 14 days of abstinence) and in 8 age and weight matched normal men. Subjects sat for 30 min in a sauna room, where the temperature was 90 C and the relative humidity 10%. Physiological and hormonal parameters were measured just before and after sauna and after 30 min of rest at normal (21 C) room temperature. Significant and comparable increments in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate and sublingual temperature were observed in the two groups at the end of sauna. All these parameters decreased to normal values after 30 min of rest at normal room temperature. Before sauna, ACTH, cortisol and β-endorphin levels were similar in the two groups, whereas plasma prolactin concentrations were significantly higher in cocaine addicts. All examined hormones rose significantly in the normal controls at the end of sauna. All hormones, except cortisol, returned to the basal levels after 30 min at normal room temperature. In contrast, no significant hormonal responses to hyperthermia were observed at any time point in cocaine addicts. These data do not provide evidence of alterations in the cardiovascular and thermal adaptive responses to hyperthermia in cocaine abusers. On the other hand, the results show an impairment of the ACTH/cortisol, β-endorphin and prolactin responses to hyperthermia in cocaine addicts. It is hypothesized that cocaine abuse produces alterations in the neuroendocrine control of pituitary function persisting after a relatively short drug free period.


β-EP ACTH/cortisol prolactin hyperthermia cocaine 


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. P. Vescovi
    • 1
  • V. Coiro
    • 1
  • R. Volpi
    • 1
  • A. Giannini
    • 2
  • M. Passeri
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Clinica Medica Generate dell’Università di ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.Servizio di Medicina d’Urgenza USL4ParmaItaly

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