Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Vitiligo is a depigmentation disorder that leads to serious psychological burden in patients, who are frequently reported to have depression and anxiety. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between stress-related hormone levels and psychological stress in vitiligo. Materials and methods: In this study46 vitiligo patients and 46 controls were enrolled; their cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS),and cortisol/DHEAS levels were measured. Psychological burden was assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory and Perceived Stress Scale. Results: Patients and controls did not differ in terms of cortisol, DHEAS, or cortisol/DHEAS. Patients had higher perceived stress than controls but did not differ in terms of depression scores. Correlation analyses revealed that cortisol/DHEAS correlated positively with perceived stress (P = 0.009, r = 0.272). The correlation between cortisol/DHEAS and perceived stress was stronger in the patient group (P = 0.013, r = 0.363) and close to zero among controls. In regression analyses, lower depression and higher perceived stress were shown to predict cortisol/DHEAS values. Conclusion: Vitiligo patients significantly differed from the healthy population in terms of hormones and psychological distress. There was also an association between perceived stress and cortisol/DHEAS ratio in vitiligo. Abnormality of hormonal response to distress lowers DHEAS, which is known for its antioxidant properties, a possible mechanism for vitiligo development. Another important finding is the significance of using the composite variable cortisol/DHEAS, which seems to be more sensitive to distress than each of its components. We suggest its use in future studies on psychological distress-hormone relationships.

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