Inflammatory cardiovascular risk markers in women with hypopituitarism.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Dec; 86(12):5774-81.JC
Patients with hypopituitarism have increased cardiovascular mortality. A high prevalence of conventional cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity, central fat distribution, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, have been described in these patients. The inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and IL-6 are predictors of cardiovascular events, and high levels of CRP have been reported in men with hypopituitarism and GH deficiency. However, little is known about inflammatory cardiovascular risk markers in women with hypopituitarism. We therefore investigated whether inflammatory and traditional cardiovascular risk markers are elevated in women with hypopituitarism. Fifty-three women with hypopituitarism and 111 healthy control women were included in this cross-sectional study. Morning blood samples were drawn after an overnight fast. Serum was assayed for CRP, IL-6, glucose, insulin, IGF-I, triglycerides, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, lipoprotein(a), E2, total testosterone (total T) and free testosterone (free T), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. IL-6 and CRP levels were higher in women with hypopituitarism than in healthy controls (P < 0.0001 for comparison between groups). In a multivariate model, CRP levels depended on hypopituitarism, body mass index (BMI), and estrogen use. There was an interaction between the effect of BMI and hypopituitarism on CRP levels, such that the importance of hypopituitarism in determining CRP levels disappeared at high BMIs. In a similar multivariate model, IL-6 levels depended on hypopituitarism and BMI. Total cholesterol, the total to HDL cholesterol ratio, and triglycerides were higher in hypopituitary patients, but only triglycerides and the total to HDL cholesterol ratio depended on hypopituitarism when controlling for BMI. There was no significant difference in lipoprotein(a) levels between hypopituitary women and control subjects. However, when controlling for estrogen use, lipoprotein(a) levels showed a trend toward being lower in the hypopituitary group (P = 0.075). In patients with hypopituitarism, CRP correlated negatively with IGF-I (r = -0.35; P = 0.010), total T (r = -0.42; P = 0.0020), and free T (r = -0.30; P = 0.031). Similarly, IL-6 correlated negatively with total T (r = -0.39; P = 0.0040) and androstenedione (r = -0.27; P = 0.048) in hypopituitary patients. In conclusion, hypopituitary women have increased levels of IL-6 and CRP, both of which are inflammatory markers of atherosclerosis. GH deficiency and androgen deficiency may contribute to these findings. Chronic inflammation may contribute to the high cardiovascular risk seen in this population.