Associations of salivary cortisol levels with metabolic syndrome and its components: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

A. S. DeSantis, A. V. DiezRoux, A. Hajat, S. H. Golden, N. S. Jenny, B. N. Sanchez, S. Shea, T. E. Seeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Prior research has identified associations between social-environmental factors and metabolic syndrome (MetS) components. The physiological mechanisms underlying these associations are not fully understood, but alterations in activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a stress-responsive biological system, have been hypothesized to play a role. Objective: The aim of the study was to determine whether MetS diagnosis and specific clusters of MetS components (waist circumference, high-density lipoproteins, glucose, and blood pressure) are associated with cortisol levels. Design and Setting: We conducted cross-sectional analyses of data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study in the general community. Patients or Other Participants: We studied a population-based sample of 726 adults (ages 48 to 89 yr) who do not have clinical diabetes. Intervention(s): There were no interventions. Main Outcome Measure(s): Cortisol awakening response, cortisol decline across the waking day, and total cortisol output were analyzed (using 18 timed measures of salivary cortisol over 3 d). Results: Overall, we found little evidence that the presence of MetS or its components is related to cortisol output or patterns. Contrary to expectation, the presence of MetS was associated with lower rather than higher area under the curve, and no consistent pattern was observed when MetS components or subsets of components were examined in relation to cortisol. Conclusions: Our findings do not support the hypothesis that differences in level or diurnal pattern of salivary cortisol output are associated with MetS among persons without clinical diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3483-3492
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations of salivary cortisol levels with metabolic syndrome and its components: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this