Cortisol correlates with metabolic disturbances in a population study of type 2 diabetic patients

Kerstin M. Oltmanns*, Baerbel Dodt, Bernd Schultes, Hans H. Raspe, Ulrich Schweiger, Jan Born, Horst L. Fehm, Achim Peters

*Corresponding author for this work
73 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is increasing rapidly in industrialized countries, and adrenal glucocorticoids may intensify this disease. We sought to assess the relationship between diabetes-associated metabolic disturbances and cortisol concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes. Design: We investigated 190 type 2 diabetic patients who volunteered from a population study of 12 430 people in Luebeck and its suburbs. The target population comprised men and women born between 1939 and 1958 who initially received a postal questionnaire about their health status. We identified 346 subjects with confirmed diabetes mellitus and 216 patients participated in the study. Patients with type 1 diabetes were excluded. Methods: Five salivary cortisol samples were collected before and after lunch, in the evening and then the next morning before and after standing. Clinical variables associated with diabetes were measured and correlated with cortisol concentrations. Results: None of the cohort had salivary cortisol concentrations that exceeded the normally accepted range. Based on cortisol samples collected just prior to a standard lunch, the cohort was divided into tertiles. Cortisol was positively related to: fasting blood, urinary and postprandial glucose; glycosylated hemoglobin; and systolic and diastolic blood pressures (all P < 0.05). Cortisol concentrations also correlated with the relative abdominal mass (P < 0.05) when patients with marked glucosuria were excluded. Conclusions: The degree of severity of several clinical measures of type 2 diabetes correlates with cortisol concentrations. Moreover, the results provide evidence for a positive relationship between metabolic disturbances and cortisol concentrations that are within the accepted normal range.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 02.2006

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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