Diurnal trajectories of salivary cortisol and α-amylase and psychological profiles in patients with central serous chorioretinopathy

Fabio Scarinci, Francesca Romana Patacchioli, Maura Palmery, Vittorio Pasquali, Eliana Costanzo, Cristina Mihaela Ghiciuc, Mariacristina Parravano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been hypothesized that the occurrence of central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) might be associated with stress. Therefore, our purpose was to investigate the diurnal trajectories of salivary cortisol and α-amylase (α-Amy)–markers of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) system activity, respectively–and psychological profiles in idiopathic acute CSC. This cross-sectional observational case-control study, which included self-reported psychometric questionnaires, was formally approved by the Ethics Committee. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants. Home diurnal saliva collection was scheduled at several timepoints: at awakening, 30 and 60 min later, and at approximately 13:00 h and 20:00 h. Twenty consecutive male subjects with first-episode CSC attending the outpatient clinic of the Retina Medical Service at the Bietti Foundation were enrolled in the study. Twenty age-matched subjects were recruited as controls. After their initial enrollment, 3 subjects per group were excluded. The production of cortisol and α-Amy and the scores on the negative subscale of the Positive/Negative Affect Schedule, the Daily Hassles and Stress Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory were higher in the CSC group than in the control group. To estimate the diurnal trends in the production of salivary cortisol and α-Amy, an equation was derived for each group of the study population. The equations describing the interpolated regression lines gave salivary cortisol and salivary α-Amy slopes that were determined to be significantly different by Student’s t-test (cortisol: t = 3.533, p < .001; α-Amy: t = 2.382, p = .018). Furthermore, the area under the curve with respect to the ground (AUCG) was calculated to summarize repeated salivary biomarker measurements from 07:00 h to 08:00 h for assessment of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and the α-Amy awakening response (AR). The diurnal cortisol AUCG and diurnal α-Amy AUCG were calculated from 07:00 h to 20:00 h. The CAR AUCG values of the CSC patients were significantly higher than those of the controls. No differences between the two groups were detected for the α-Amy AR AUCG. The present study adds novel information to the growing body of data suggesting that abnormal diurnal activity of the HPA axis and the SAM system is associated with CSC in susceptible individuals, providing ophthalmologists with a new chronobiological approach for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChronobiology International
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 16 2019


  • central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) risk factors
  • hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
  • Salivary cortisol
  • salivary α-amylase
  • stress
  • sympathetic adrenomedullary (SAM) system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Diurnal trajectories of salivary cortisol and α-amylase and psychological profiles in patients with central serous chorioretinopathy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this