Cortisol is negatively associated with insulin sensitivity in overweight Latino youth

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct;95(10):4729-35. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-0322. Epub 2010 Jul 21.


Context and objective: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of serum morning cortisol and aspects of insulin action in Latino children and adolescents (8-13 yr) at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Design and participants: The present study includes a cross-sectional analysis in 211 participants and a longitudinal analysis in a subset of 143 participants.

Results: At baseline, cortisol was negatively associated with fasting glucose (r = 0.23; P < 0.01), β-cell function (disposition index, r = -0.24; P < 0.05), and acute insulin response to glucose (r = -0.27; P < 0.05). Baseline cortisol was also significantly related to the change in insulin sensitivity over 1 yr (r = -0.23; P < 0.05). These results did not differ by Tanner stage or sex.

Conclusions: Cortisol contributes to the reduction in insulin sensitivity at an early age in Latino children and adolescents. Specifically, cortisol is negatively associated with potential compensatory mechanisms for insulin resistance, such as increased β-cell function and increased insulin release to a glucose challenge, by exacerbating the progression toward insulin resistance in this population. The results underline the relevance of glucocorticoid reduction for the prevention of metabolic disease in Latino children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Overweight / blood*
  • Overweight / ethnology
  • Overweight / metabolism*


  • Hydrocortisone