Objective: The precise mechanisms behind the development of hypertension in overweight or obese children are not yet completely understood. Alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity may play a role. We aimed to investigate the association between cortisol parameters and hypertension in overweight or obese children. Methods: Random urine (n=180) and early-morning saliva samples (n=126) for assessment of cortisol and cortisone were collected from 1) hypertensive overweight children (n=50), 2) normotensive overweight children (n=145), and 3) normotensive non-overweight children (n=75). Results: The age of participants was 10.4±3.3 years and 53% were boys. The urinary cortisol-to-cortisone ratio [β 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05-1.19] as well as urinary cortisol/creatinine (β 1.38, 95% CI 1.09-1.54), and cortisone/creatinine ratios (β 1.26, 95% CI 1.17-1.36) were significantly higher in overweight or obese than in non-overweight children. After adjusting for body mass index-standard deviation score and urinary cortisone/creatinine ratio, but not cortisol/creatinine ratio, was significantly associated with presence of hypertension (β 1.12, 95% CI 1.02-1.23). Salivary cortisol and cortisone levels were significantly lower in overweight or obese than in non-overweight children (β -4.67, 95% CI -8.19- -1.15, and β 0.89, 95% CI 0.80-0.97 respectively). There were no significant differences in cortisol parameters between hypertensive and normotensive overweight or obese children. Conclusion: This study provided further evidence for an increased cortisol production rate with decreased renal 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 activity and flattening of early-morning peak cortisol and cortisone in overweight or obese children. However, there were no significant differences in cortisol parameters between hypertensive and normotensive overweight and obese children.

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doi.org/10.4274/jcrpe.4802, hdl.handle.net/1765/108422
JCRPE Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology

Wirix, A.J.G, Finken, M.J, von Rosenstiel-Jadoul, I.A. (Ines A), Heijboer, M.P, Nauta, J, Groothoff, J.W, … Kist-Van Holthe, J.E. (2017). Is there an association between cortisol and hypertension in overweight or obese children?. JCRPE Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology, 9(4), 344–349. doi:10.4274/jcrpe.4802