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Diurnal salivary cortisol is associated with body mass index and waist circumference: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Champaneri, S., X. Xu, M. Carnethon, A. Bertoni, T. Seeman, A. Desantis, Ana Diez Roux, S. Shrager, and S. Golden. 2012. "Diurnal salivary cortisol is associated with body mass index and waist circumference: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis." Obesity, 21(1): E56–E63.

Neuroendocrine abnormalities, such as activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, are associated with obesity; however, few large-scale population-based studies have examined HPA axis and markers of obesity. We examined the cross-sectional association of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and diurnal salivary cortisol curve with obesity. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Stress Study includes 1,002 White, Hispanic, and Black men and women (mean age 65+/-9.8 years) who collected up to 18 salivary cortisol samples over 3 days. Cortisol profiles were modeled using regression spline models that incorporated random parameters for subject-specific effects. Cortisol curve measures included awakening cortisol, CAR (awakening to 30 minutes post-awakening), early decline (30 minutes to 2 hours post-awakening), late decline (2 hours post-awakening to bedtime), and the corresponding areas under the curve (AUC). Body-mass-index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were used to estimate adiposity. For the entire cohort, both BMI and WC were negatively correlated with awakening cortisol (p<0.05), AUC during awakening rise and early decline and positively correlated to the early decline slope (p<0.05) after adjustments for age, race/ethnicity, gender, diabetes status, socioeconomic status, beta blockers, steroids, hormone replacement therapy and smoking status. No heterogeneities of effects were observed by gender, age, and race/ethnicity. Higher BMI and WC are associated with neuroendocrine dysregulation, which is present in a large population sample, and only partially explained by other covariates.

DOI:10.1002/oby.20047 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3602310. (Pub Med Central)

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