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The 24-hour urinary cortisol in post-traumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis

Xiongfeng Pan, Atipatsa C Kaminga, Shi Wu Wen, Zhipeng Wang, Xiaoli Wu and Aizhong Liu

PLOS ONE, 2020, vol. 15, issue 1, 1-15

Abstract: Objective: Previous studies found inconsistent results on the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and concentrations of 24-hour (24-h) urinary cortisol. This study performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize previous findings on this relationship. Methods: We searched in the databases of Web of Science, PubMed, Embase, and Psyc-ARTICLES for articles published before September 2018. We used the random-effects model with restricted maximum-likelihood estimator to synthesize the effect sizes by calculating the standardized mean difference (SMD) and assessing its significance. Results: Six hundred and nineteen articles were identified from the preceding databases and 20 of them were included in the meta-analysis. Lower concentrations of 24-h urinary cortisol were observed in patients with PTSD when compared with the controls (SMD = -0.49, 95%CI [-0.91; -0.07], p = 0.02). Subgroup analysis revealed that the concentrations of 24-h urinary cortisol were lower in PTSD patients than in the controls for studies that included female participants or studies that included participants from the United States of America. Conclusions: Overall, decreased levels of 24-h urinary cortisol were linked with the pathophysiology of PTSD. Nonetheless, more studies should be conducted to validate the molecular underpinnings of urine cortisol degeneration in PTSD.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227560

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