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Long-term cortisol exposure tied to short stature, increased cholesterol in Turner syndrome

12 Aug 2019
Cortisol sensor applied to volunteer’s forearm. Photo from Sci Adv 2018;4:eaar2904.

Chronic exposure to higher cortisol levels among patients with Turner syndrome (TS) is linked to short stature and greater total cholesterol levels, according to a study. Cortisol exposure also contributes to an increase in cardiovascular disease risk.

Patients with TS had higher hair cortisol concentrations (HCC; geometric mean, 3.51 pg/mg, 95 percent CI, 2.64–4.65 vs 2.39 pg/mg, 2.13–2.68; p=0.003) and a worse cardiometabolic profile in terms of fasting glucose and triglycerides compared with controls.

HCC correlated with total cholesterol levels (standardized β, 0.294; p=0.047) but not with psychological outcomes. In addition, an inverse association was found between a higher HCC and height in patients with TS (standardized β, –0.307; p=0.023).

This prospective, observational case-control study conducted at an academic outpatient TS expertise centre determined whether TS was associated with increased long-term cortisol concentrations as measured in scalp hair and whether these were linked to cardiometabolic and psychological parameters.

The investigators identified 55 patients with TS (53 percent 45,X karyotype) and 110 age-matched female community control individuals from the general population-based Lifelines cohort study. The outcome measures included HCC, anthropometrics, biochemical parameters, and psychological questionnaires for perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale–14), fatigue (Checklist Individual Strength–20) and health-related quality of life (RAND-36).

“TS usually manifests in traits as short stature and premature ovarian failure,” the investigators said. “Many patients also have an increased risk of cardiometabolic disorders and psychological distress, which are features that overlap with those of a prolonged state of hypercortisolism.”

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Most Read Articles
06 Oct 2018
Supplementation with resistant starch for 12 weeks decreases the inflammatory marker tumour necrosis factor [TNF]-α and heart rate but does not significantly improve glycaemic control and other cardiovascular disease risk factors in prediabetic adults, suggests a study.
5 days ago
Use of the feminizing hormone therapy medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) results in minimal side effects, unchanged oestradiol levels and a decline in testosterone in a cohort of transwomen, a study has found.
29 Sep 2019
The duration and degree of overweight in adulthood appear to have lasting influence on breast and colorectal cancer survival, a study has found.
22 Jul 2019
The risk of diabetes mellitus is higher among postmenopausal women who develop primary breast cancer, reports a new study.