Predicting cardiovascular risk factors from plasma cortisol measured during oral glucose tolerance tests

Reynolds, Rebecca M., Syddall, Holly E., Walker, Brian R., Wood, Peter J. and Phillips, David I. (2003) Predicting cardiovascular risk factors from plasma cortisol measured during oral glucose tolerance tests Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 52, (5), pp. 524-527. (doi:10.1053/meta.2003.50090).


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Increasing evidence suggests that activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis may contribute to the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome and obesity. The mechanisms are unknown but may involve alterations in the metabolic responses to feeding that interact with the HPA axis. As it is known that plasma cortisol falls during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), changes in cortisol measured during an OGTT may be altered in the metabolic syndrome. We measured changes in plasma cortisol during OGTTs in a large study of 593 men and women to determine correlates of changes in cortisol with features of the metabolic syndrome and the extent to which these relationships are confounded by obesity. In men and women, higher cortisol area under the curve (AUC) during the OGTT was associated with higher glucose AUC and higher systolic blood pressure. Higher cortisol AUC was associated with reduced insulin increment in men, but higher 2-hour insulin and insulin AUC in women. However, the decline in plasma cortisol after glucose administration was poorly predictive of features of the metabolic syndrome. Obesity was associated with lower cortisol AUC but not with percentage decline in cortisol. Plasma cortisol and obesity had independent effects on plasma glucose and were the strongest predictors of plasma glucose in multiple regression analysis. Measurements of plasma cortisol during the OGTT reinforce the previously observed relationships of activation of the HPA axis in the metabolic syndrome. However, the altered HPA response to feeding does not appear to be primarily responsible for HPA activation in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1053/meta.2003.50090
ISSNs: 1521-690X (print)
Keywords: body mass index, analysis,'t, blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin, obesity, glucose tolerance test, research support, risk, syndrome, humans, research, cardiovascular diseases
ePrint ID: 60162
Date :
Date Event
May 2003Published
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:33
Further Information:Google Scholar

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