Differences in cortisol concentrations in South Asian and European men living in the United Kingdom
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2006
Volume 64, Issue 5, pages 530–534, May 2006
How to Cite
Reynolds, R. M., Fischbacher, C., Bhopal, R., Byrne, C. D., White, M., Unwin, N. and Walker, B. R. (2006), Differences in cortisol concentrations in South Asian and European men living in the United Kingdom. Clinical Endocrinology, 64: 530–534. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2006.02504.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2006
- (Received 20 October 2005; returned for revision 3 December 2005; finally revised 25 January 2006; accepted 26 January 2006)
Objective The metabolic syndrome is more prevalent in South Asians in Britain than in the general population. Furthering our understanding of the underlying mechanisms is important because of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the metabolic syndrome. As it has been proposed that increased activity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis might underlie the metabolic syndrome, we hypothesized that plasma cortisol levels would be higher in South Asians and that increased cortisol levels would be associated with cardiovascular risk factors comprising the metabolic syndrome. The aim of the study was to examine ethnic differences in cortisol levels and to compare the relationships between cortisol levels and cardiovascular risk factors in men from different ethnic groups.
Design Cross-sectional population-based study, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. (Newcastle Heart project).
Participants One hundred men, 40–67 years old, of European and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) ancestry, with and without cardiovascular risk factors of the metabolic syndrome.
Measurements Measurement of plasma cortisol and corticosteroid binding globulin in stored sera.
Results After adjustment for age and the presence of cardiovascular risk factors, mean cortisol was 27% (95% CI, 10%, 40%) lower in South Asians compared to Europeans. Cortisol levels were higher in all men with cardiovascular risk factors than those without.
Conclusions Cortisol levels are lower in South Asian than in European men resident in the UK. Despite lower cortisol levels in South Asians, the relations between cortisol and cardiovascular risk factors remain strong.