1. Chronic alcoholism is associated with a selective atrophy of type II skeletal muscle fibres. We studied the glucocorticoid status of chronic alcoholics with and without myopathy to determine if hypercortisolism is responsible for the myopathy.
2. Twenty-four hour urinary Cortisol excretion and diurnal serum Cortisol measurements were not significantly different in chronic alcoholics, with and without atrophy of type II skeletal muscle fibres.
3. Diurnal serum Cortisol variation was normal for both groups of alcoholics studied. None of the patients with myopathy had raised serum Cortisol levels.
4. We conclude that chronic alcoholic myopathy is not due to alcohol-related pseudo-Cushing's syndrome.