Morning cortisol is lower in obese individuals with normal glucose tolerance
Edavan P Praveen1, Jaya Prakash Sahoo1, Bindu Kulshreshtha2, Madan L Khurana3, Nandita Gupta1, Sada Nand Dwivedi3, Guresh Kumar3, Ariachery C Ammini1
1Department of Endocrinology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 2Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, 3Department of Biostatistics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
Background: There is no consensus on the role of cortisol in the pathogenesis of obesity and metabolic syndrome (MS). This cross-sectional study aimed to analyze the relationship of morning plasma cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels with body mass index (BMI) and glucose tolerance.
Subjects and methods: The sample frame was the “Offspring of individuals with diabetes study” database. A total of 358 offspring of individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and 287 individuals without a known family history of T2DM were recruited for the study. Subjects who were ≥10 years of age were selected from the database for analysis. Subjects with T2DM were excluded. All participants underwent a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and blood samples were collected at 0, 30, 60, and 120 minutes for glucose, insulin and C-peptide. Plasma cortisol, ACTH, and lipid profile were estimated from the fasting sample.
Results: Four hundred and ninety-five participants (305 males [62%] and 190 females [38%]) were included in the analysis. ACTH and cortisol levels were higher in normal-weight subjects than in overweight/obese subjects. Both ACTH and cortisol increased as fasting plasma glucose increased. Cortisol levels were significantly lower in offspring of T2DM subjects with MS than in offspring of T2DM subjects without MS. When adjusted for BMI, the significance was marginal. In males, cortisol levels were negatively correlated with early insulin secretion during OGTT (insulinogenic index [0–30]) and positively with waist circumference and serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. In females, fasting glucose and systolic blood pressure were significantly and positively correlated.
Conclusion: Body weight was correlated negatively with morning plasma cortisol and ACTH, whereas fasting glucose was correlated positively.
Keywords: cortisol and body weight, cortisol and obesity, cortisol and glucose tolerance, ACTH, cortisol, metabolic syndrome
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