The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

Vascular Health in Patients in Remission of Cushing's Syndrome Is Comparable With That in BMI-Matched Controls.

PMID 27552540


In active Cushing's syndrome (CS), patients suffer from endothelial dysfunction and premature atherosclerosis. However, it is uncertain to what extent vascular health recovers after long-term remission. This is highly relevant because this topic relates to future development of cardiovascular disease. The objective of the study was to investigate whether micro- and macrovascular health is impaired after long-term remission of CS in patients with no or adequately treated comorbidities. This was a cross-sectional case-control study in two tertiary referral centers. Sixty-three patients (remission of CS for ≥ 4 y) and 63 healthy, well-matched controls were compared. In group A (58 patients and 58 controls), serum biomarkers associated with endothelial dysfunction, intima media thickness, pulse wave velocity, and pulse wave analysis were studied. In group B (14 patients and 14 controls), endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilatation was studied in conduit arteries (flow mediated dilation of the brachial artery) and forearm skeletal muscle resistance arteries (vasodilator response to intraarterial acetylcholine, sodium-nitroprusside, and NG-monomethyl-L-arginine using venous occlusion plethysmography). There were no significant differences between the outcome measures of vascular health of patients and controls in groups A and B. The vascular health of patients in long-term remission of CS seems to be comparable with that of healthy gender-, age-, and body mass index-matched controls, provided that the patients have no, or adequately controlled, comorbidities. Therefore, the effects of hypercortisolism per se on the vasculature may be reversible. This accentuates the need for the stringent treatment of metabolic comorbidities in these patients.