Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology

Effects of menopause on hepatic 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 activity and adrenal sensitivity to adrenocorticotropin in healthy non-obese women.

PMID 21736538


Menopause is associated with central obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and insulin resistance, which are also shown in the patients with excess of glucocorticoids. However, the interaction of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity and menopause has not been fully understood. In this study, 55 healthy non-obese women were recruited, and then divided into two groups, premenopausal group (n = 24) and postmenopausal group (n = 31). HPA axis function was evaluated by using dexamethasone suppression test (DST; 0.25 mg), and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)-stimulation test. Moreover, 25 mg cortisone acetate test was applied to evaluate the hepatic 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) activity. We found that hepatic 11β-HSD1 activity and adrenal response to ACTH were increased in the postmenopausal group compared with the premenopausal group, whereas the negative feedback effect of dexamethasone did not show significant difference between pre- and postmenopausal women. These findings suggest that the adrenal sensitivity to ACTH and hepatic 11β-HSD1 activity are increased. The increased cortisol conversion and/or synthesis may be contributed to the dysmetabolic features in the postmenopausal women.

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