Association of subclinical hypercortisolism with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A case-control study in hospitalized patients

Iacopo Chiodini, Massimo Torlontano, Alfredo Scillitani, Maura Arosio, Simonetta Bacci, Sergio Di Lembo, Paolo Epaminonda, Giovanni Augello, Riccardo Enrini, Bruno Ambrosi, Guido Adda, Vincenzo Trischitta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Subclinical hypercortisolism (SH) may play a role in several metabolic disorders, including diabetes. No data are available on the relative prevalence of SH in type 2 diabetes (T2D). In order to compare the prevalence of SH in T2D and matched non-diabetic control individuals, we performed a case-controlled, multicenter, 12-month study, enrolling 294 consecutive T2D inpatients (1.7% dropped out the study) with no evidence of clinical hypercortisolism and 189 consecutive age- and body mass index-matched non-diabetic inpatients (none of whom dropped out). Design and methods: Ascertained SH (ASH) was diagnosed in individuals (i) with plasma cortisol after 1 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression > 1.8 μg/dl (50 nmol/l), (ii) with more than one of the following: (a) urinary free cortisol > 60.0 μg/24 h (165.6 nmol/24 h), (b) plasma ACTH <10.0 pg/ml (2.2 pmol/l) or (c) plasma cortisol > 7.5 μg/dl (207 nmol/l) at 24:00 h or > 1.4 μg/dl (38.6 nmol/l) after dexamethasone-CRH (serum cortisol after corticotrophin-releasing hormone stimulus during dexamethasone administration) test, and (iii) in whom the source of glucocorticoid excess was suggested by imaging and by additional biochemical tests (for ACTH-dependent ASH). Results: Prevalence of ASH was higher in diabetic individuals than in controls (9.4 versus 2.1%; adjusted odds ratio, 4.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-14.1; P = 0.004). In our population the proportion of T2D which is statistically attributable to ASH was approx. 7%. Among diabetic patients, the presence of severe diabetes (as defined by the coexistence of hypertension, dyslipidaemia and insulin treatment) was significantly associated with SH (adjusted odds ratio, 3.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-10.2; P = 0.017). Conclusions: In hospitalized patients, SH is associated with T2D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-844
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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