Corticosteroid-binding globulin regulates cortisol pharmacokinetics

Department of Endocrinology, Christie Hospital, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, UK.
Clinical Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 3.46). 11/2010; 74(1):30-6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2010.03897.x
Source: PubMed


Corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) is the principal carrier for cortisol in the circulation. Variations in CBG-binding capacity are predicted to alter total serum cortisol disposition, but free serum cortisol is believed to be unaffected. Unbound cortisol pharmacokinetics (PK) have not been studied in the context of CBG changes. We aimed to assess the regulation of cortisol PK by CBG.
Women on oestrogens [oral contraceptive pill, (OCP)], patients homozygous for a nonfunctioning CBG variant (CBG null) and healthy controls (HV) were studied before and after IV and oral administration of hydrocortisone 20 mg.
PK parameters were studied for total serum cortisol (SerF), free serum cortisol (FreeF) and cortisone (FreeE), and salivary cortisol (SalF) and cortisone (SalE): area under the curve (AUC), clearance (CL), half-life and volume of distribution (V(d)).
Following IV hydrocortisone, AUC and half-life of SerF were significantly higher in the OCP group and lower in the CBG null. SerF CL and V(d) were significantly lower in the OCP group and increased in the CBG null, compared to HV. PK parameters for FreeF and the salivary biomarkers were not different between the CBG null and HV, although OCP patients still had higher AUC compared to HV and prolonged half-life. These findings were confirmed following oral hydrocortisone, but concentration-time profiles were highly heterogeneous and SalF interpretation was problematic because of oral contamination.
We have demonstrated that CBG has a distinct effect on cortisol PK. When CBG binding is disrupted, FreeF retains normal PK characteristics, although CBG null patients lack a CBG-bound pool of readily releasable cortisol. Women on oestrogens may have altered free serum cortisol kinetics and thus may be potentially overexposed to glucocorticoids.

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    • "Given that cortisol and DHEAS are the two most abundantly produced adrenal steroids, the small AV/pV ratios in their plasma concentrations compared to other adrenal steroids may seem contradictory, but are easily explained by differences in circulatory clearances. Protein binding of most circulating cortisol presumably contributes to relatively slow clearance of total plasma cortisol [44] [45]. The much slower circulatory clearance of cortisol than of metanephrine, for example, means that this latter metabolite of adrenaline shows much larger AV/pV ratios than cortisol and consequently provides a superior analyte to assess selectivity of AVS [29]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Steroid profiling for diagnosis of endocrine disorders featuring disordered production of steroid hormones is now possible from advances in liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). Adrenal venous (AV) measurements of aldosterone and cortisol are a standard practice in the clinical work-up of primary aldosteronism, but do not yet take advantage of steroid profiling. Methods A novel LC–MS/MS based method was developed for simultaneous measurement of 15 adrenal steroids: aldosterone, corticosterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, cortisone, cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate, 21-deoxycortisol, 18-oxocortisol and 18-hydroxycortisol. These were compared in peripheral venous (pV) and AV plasma from 70 patients undergoing AV sampling with and without cosyntropin stimulation. Aldosterone and cortisol levels measured by LC–MS/MS were compared with those measured by immunoassay. Results Reproducibility of measurements with coefficients of variation ≤10% as well as analytical sensitivity sufficient to measure low pV levels particularly of aldosterone demonstrate the utility of the assay for profiling adrenal steroids in primary aldosteronism. Method comparisons indicated assay and concentration dependent differences of cortisol and aldosterone concentrations measured by immunoassay and LC–MS/MS. Median AV/pV ratios of 11-deoxycortisol (53.0), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (33.4), pregnenolone (62.4), androstenedione (40.6) and dehydroepiandrosterone (33.3) were 2.9- to, 5.4-fold larger than those for cortisol (11.6), with additionally generally larger increases than for cortisol with than without cosyntropin stimulation. Conclusion Our LC–MS/MS assay, in addition to improvements over existing immunoassay measurements of aldosterone and cortisol, offers profiling of 13 other adrenal steroids, providing a potentially useful method for the clinical work-up of patients with primary aldosteronism. In particular, the larger AV/pV ratios of several steroids compared to cortisol suggest more sensitive alternatives to the latter for assessing positioning of AV sampling catheters.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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    • "CBG, in addition to transporting glucocorticoids in plasma [24] may control or facilitate their entry in the cell [25]. CBG can bind to membrane proteins [26], and it has been found that, at least in adipose tissue, CBG may control glucocorticoid entry in the cells acting as a barrier [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In the metabolic syndrome, glucocorticoid activity is increased, but circulating levels show little change. Most of blood glucocorticoids are bound to corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), which liver expression and circulating levels are higher in females than in males. Since blood hormones are also bound to blood cells, and the size of this compartment is considerable for androgens and estrogens, we analyzed whether sex or eating a cafeteria diet altered the compartmentation of corticosterone in rat blood. The main corticosterone compartment in rat blood is that specifically bound to plasma proteins, with smaller compartments bound to blood cells or free. Cafeteria diet increased the expression of liver CBG gene, binding plasma capacity and the proportion of blood cell-bound corticosterone. There were marked sex differences in blood corticosterone compartmentation in rats, which were unrelated to testosterone. The use of a monoclonal antibody ELISA and a polyclonal Western blot for plasma CBG compared with both specific plasma binding of corticosterone and CBG gene expression suggested the existence of different forms of CBG, with varying affinities for corticosterone in males and females, since ELISA data showed higher plasma CBG for males, but binding and Western blot analyses (plus liver gene expression) and higher physiological effectiveness for females. Good cross- reactivity to the antigen for polyclonal CBG antibody suggests that in all cases we were measuring CBG.The different immunoreactivity and binding affinity may help explain the marked sex-related differences in plasma hormone binding as sex-linked different proportions of CBG forms.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "which becomes larger with decreasing salivary cortisol due to differential kinetic properties of cortisone and cortisol (Perogamvros et al., 2011), but might as well be due to further saliva matrix components (e.g., aldosterone, 17a- OHP or synthetic glucocorticoids). This notion is underpinned by the finding, that the respective amount of residual (co)variance correlates highly significant with assayspecific cortisone cross-reactivity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Assessing the amount of bioavailable cortisol in saliva with immunoassays and thus sampling an endocrine marker of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity is of major interest in both research and clinical practice. However, absolute cortisol concentrations obtained with different immunoassays (IAs) are barely comparable precluding direct comparison between studies or individuals whenever cortisol analyses were not based on the same IA. The present technical report aims to solve this problem by evaluating the validity of, as well as agreement between the most commonly used immunoassays in psychoneuroendocrinological research (i.e., IBL, DRG, Salimetrics, DSL, and DELFIA) and a reference method (LC-MS/MS) in a sample of 195 saliva specimen covering the whole range of cortisol concentrations in adults. A structural equation modelling framework is applied to decompose systematic assay variance and estimate cortisol reference values, which are adjusted for measurement error and interference of salivary cortisone. Our findings reveal nonlinear relations between IAs and LC-MS/MS, which are discussed in terms of IA cross-reactivity with saliva matrix components. Finally guidelines for converting cortisol concentrations being obtained by these immunoassays into comparable reference values are proposed by providing conversion functions, a conversion table, and an online conversion tool.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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