Background and objectives: “To assess the pituitary and adrenal cortical functions in natives of Cholistan desert”. Methods and material: The study design was analytical cross-sectional, conducted in Cholistan desert and the Physiology and Cell Biology Department of UHS Lahore. The sample size was one hundred (100) through convenience sampling. Blood samples were drawn from the subjects. Serum was separated from the venous blood immediately to avoid the effect of hemolysis on serum K+ levels. The serum isolated was then transferred to two vials for ACTH and Cortisol level measurements. The data was entered and analyzed using SPSS 18. Results: The mean ± SD value for serum cortisol of the exposed and unexposed group were14.54 ± 4.30 μg/dl and 15.56±4.90 μg/dl respectively. But the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant (p=0.273). Discussion: The environmental heat present at all levels of biological organization and to restore and adjust constant body temperature, fluid balance, and energy metabolism as a survival mechanism in the demanding environment. The serum ACTH levels were decreased in this study in the exposed group as compared to the un-exposed group; although this difference was not statistically significant with the p-value of 0.66. Acute exposures to heat have led to an increase in ACTH levels while the chronic acclimatization has been associated with relatively lower levels. Chronic exposure led to decreased levels of ACTH. The cortisol hormone values were also comparatively decreased in the exposed group and it was also not statistically important with p= 0.273. Reasons for different responses to acute and chronic stress are unknown but may be related to altered adrenal metabolism.
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