Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Pharmacology and Toxicology


Dr. Gideon Koren

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Michael Rieder

Joint Supervisor

3rd Supervisor

Dr. Stan Van Uum

Joint Supervisor


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is associated with increased stress and alterations in metabolism, favoring catabolism over anabolism. Hormonal profiles of patients with heart failure have been assessed using serum and saliva as matrices, which are only point measurements and do not provide long-term information. Scalp hair is a novel matrix that allows for measurement of hormones over a period of several months. We aimed to evaluate whether levels of cortisol and testosterone and their ratio (C/T) in hair correlate with severity of heart failure. We conducted a prospective study in ambulatory male patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤40%. Hormone levels were measured using immunoassays in the proximal 2 cm of hair (representing approximately two months of systemic hormone exposure). Primary endpoints included the correlation of hair cortisol, testosterone, and C/T levels with the New York Heart Association (NYHA) class, LVEF, exercise capacity and NT-proBNP. The 44 CHF patients had a median hair level (range) of cortisol of 207 (117.7-1277.3) ng/g. Hair cortisol levels correlated positively with NYHA class (r=0.48, p=0.001) and negatively with treadmill stress test performance, (r=-0.37, p