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Neuroendocrinology. 2012;95(3):187-206. doi: 10.1159/000330416. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Adipokines and cardiovascular risk in Cushing's syndrome.

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  • 1Neuroendocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Cushing's syndrome (CS) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Recent evidence also suggests that increased cardiovascular risk may persist even after long-term remission of CS. Increased central obesity, a typical feature of CS, is associated with altered production of adipokines, which contributes to the pathogenesis of several metabolic and cardiovascular complications observed in this condition. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown a relationship between cortisol and adipokines in several experimental settings. In patients with either active or 'cured' CS, an increase in leptin and resistin levels as well as the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6, may be associated with increased cardiovascular risk. For other adipokines, including adiponectin, results are inconclusive. Studies are needed to further elucidate the interactions between clinical and subclinical increases in cortisol production and altered adipokine release in CS.

Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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