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Stress. 2008 Jan;11(1):62-72. Epub 2007 Jul 16.

Chronic administration of an angiotensin II receptor antagonist resets the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and improves the affect of patients with diabetes mellitus type 2: preliminary results.

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First Department of Pediatrics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece.


Diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM type 2) is associated with depressive symptomatology and intermittent hyperfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. DM type 2 is also accompanied by increased tissue levels of angiotensin II (Ang II), which stimulates the HPA axis through the Ang II type 1 receptors (AT1). We investigated the effect of candesartan, an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) that crosses the blood brain barrier, on the activity of the HPA axis and on the affect of 17 patients with DM type 2, aged 40-65 years, who were treated with 4 mg/day candesartan per os for at least 3 months. Before and after candesartan administration, a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulation test and psychological tests were performed. In response to hCRH, time-integrated secretion of ACTH was not altered by candesartan administration, however, the cortisol response was decreased significantly compared to baseline (mean +/- SEM, 2327 +/- 148.3 vs. 1943 +/- 131.9 microg/dl, P = 0.005) suggesting reduced sensitivity of the adrenals to ACTH. In parallel, there was a significant improvement in interpersonal sensitivity (0.91 +/- 0.16 vs. 0.70 +/- 0.15, P = 0.027) and depression scores (0.96 +/- 0.15 vs. 0.71 +/- 0.10, P = 0.026). We suggest that candesartan resets the HPA axis of patients with DM type 2 and improves their affect.

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