Cushing's syndrome is associated with several comorbidities responsible for the increased cardiovascular risk, not only during the active phase but also after disease remission.
In 29 patients with Cushing's syndrome (14 Cushing's diseases and 15 adrenal adenomas), waist circumference, fasting and 2-h glucose after oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), lipid profile and blood pressure were evaluated during the active disease and 1 year after remission and compared with those in 29 sex-, age- and BMI-matched controls.
During the active disease, waist circumference, 2-h glucose after OGTT, total and LDL cholesterol were higher in patients with Cushing's syndrome than in controls (P < 0·001) but similar in Cushing's disease and adrenal adenomas. The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and hypertension was higher (P < 0·001) in patients with Cushing's syndrome (27%, 24%, 59% and 72%) than in controls (10%, 0%, 21% and 10%), with no significant difference between Cushing's disease and adrenal adenomas. One year following hormonal remission, waist circumference persisted higher than in controls (P < 0·05) in both Cushing's disease and adrenal adenomas. Metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities were still present in both groups, although with a lower prevalence, as well as with a more marked decrease in adrenal adenomas (P < 0·05 vs active disease for IGT, dyslipidaemia and hypertension).
These results show that chronic hypercortisolism, independently of its aetiology, contributes to metabolic impairment and increased cardiovascular risk, while these abnormalities mostly persist in patients with previous Cushing's disease after hormonal remission. Pituitary hormonal deficiencies, hormonal replacement treatments and/or incomplete cure from Cushing's disease may account for these findings.
"This is accompanied by a greater than two-fold increased risk in insulin resistance/diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia . In the human equivalent of severe chronic stress, CS, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is increased , , and intriguingly, after remission, these patients still have increased waist circumference ,  and higher visceral fat mass without an effect on the body mass index , and their cardiovascular risk remains increased. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of glucocorticoids in atherosclerosis development is not clearly established. Human studies show a clear association between glucocorticoid excess and cardiovascular disease, whereas most animal models indicate an inhibitory effect of glucocorticoids on atherosclerosis development. These animal models, however, neither reflect long-term glucocorticoid overexposure nor display human-like lipoprotein metabolism.
To investigate the effects of transient and continuous glucocorticoid excess on atherosclerosis development in a mouse model with human-like lipoprotein metabolism upon feeding a Western-type diet.
Pair-housed female APOE*3-Leiden.CETP (E3L.CETP) mice fed a Western-type containing 0.1% cholesterol for 20 weeks were given corticosterone (50 µg/ml) for either 5 (transient group) or 17 weeks (continuous group), or vehicle (control group) in the drinking water. At the end of the study, atherosclerosis severity, lesion area in the aortic root, the number of monocytes adhering to the endothelial wall and macrophage content of the plaque were measured.
Corticosterone treatment increased body weight and food intake for the duration of the treatment and increased gonadal and subcutaneous white adipose tissue weight in transient group by +35% and +31%, and in the continuous group by +140% and 110%. Strikingly, both transient and continuous corticosterone treatment decreased total atherosclerotic lesion area by -39% without lowering plasma cholesterol levels. In addition, there was a decrease of -56% in macrophage content of the plaque with continuous corticosterone treatment, and a similar trend was present with the transient treatment.
Increased corticosterone exposure in mice with human-like lipoprotein metabolism has beneficial, long-lasting effects on atherosclerosis, but negatively affects body fat distribution by promoting fat accumulation in the long-term. This indicates that the increased atherosclerosis observed in humans in states of glucocorticoid excess may not be related to cortisol per se, but might be the result of complex indirect effects of cortisol.
PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e63882. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0063882 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Over time, patients are therefore likely to develop a disturbance of glucose homeostasis. In a recent study, the prevalence of IGT was 27 % in patients with Cushing’s disease and adrenal adenomas compared with 10 % in matched controls (P < 0.001) , which may develop further to manifest diabetes mellitus induced by the endocrine disease . According to American Diabetes Association (ADA) classification, this type of diabetes can be classified under “Other specific types of diabetes due to other causes” or type 3 diabetes mellitus . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To recommend an approach to monitoring and treating hyperglycemia in pasireotide-treated patients with Cushing's disease, a severe clinical condition caused by a pituitary adenoma hypersecreting adrenocorticotropic hormone. Advisory Board meeting of ten European experts in pituitary disease and diabetes mellitus in Munich, Germany, on February 23, 2012, to obtain expert recommendations. Cushing's disease presents a number of management challenges. Pasireotide, a novel agent for the treatment of Cushing's disease with proven biochemical and clinical efficacy, improves outcomes and expands treatment options. Clinical trials have shown that the pasireotide adverse event profile is similar to that of other somatostatin analogs, except for a higher frequency of hyperglycemia. Mechanistic studies in healthy volunteers suggest that pasireotide-associated hyperglycemia is due to reduced secretion of glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, and insulin; however, it is associated with intact postprandial glucagon secretion. Individual patients' results demonstrate effective hyperglycemia management by following standard guidelines for the treatment of diabetes mellitus with individual adaptation to the specific underlying pathophysiology, i.e., preferential use of GLP-1 based-medications. Patients on pasireotide treatment should be monitored for changes in glucose metabolism and hyperglycemia. Diabetes mellitus should be managed by initiation of medical therapy with metformin and staged treatment intensification with a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, with a switch to a GLP-1 receptor agonist and initiation of insulin, as required, to achieve and maintain glycemic control. Further research into hyperglycemia following pasireotide treatment will help refine the optimal strategy in Cushing's disease.
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