The effects of acute administration of ethanol were studied in a total of 18 normal male subjects. Sixteen men were given oral ethanol (2.5 ml/kg vodka or gin) and four received intravenous infusions of ethanol (1 ml/kg), at two times of day, 0900 h and 1800 h. Neither intravenous nor oral ethanol caused a specific rise in plasma cortisol, in contrast to previously reported work. There was no evidence for circadian variation in response. Since ethanol does not release plasma cortisol in normal individuals, the pathogenesis of 'alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing's syndrome' should be re-considered.
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