Journal of Korean Endocrine Society 2003;18(4):392-403.
Published online August 1, 2003.
The Change of Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Secretion According to Glucose Metabolism Status in Patients with Cushing's Syndrome.
In Kyung Jeong, Sung Hoon Kim, Jae Hoon Chung, Yong Ki Min, Myung Shik Lee, Moon Kyu Lee, Hyung Joon Yoo, Kyu Jeong Ahn, Jung Hynun Noh, Dong Jun Kim, Kwang Won Kim
1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Korea.
2Department of Internal medicine, Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Korea.
3Department of Internal Medicine, Eulgi University, Korea.
4Department of Internal Medicine, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje university, Korea.
Glucocorticoid plays an important role in the control of carbohydrate metabolism. Patients with Cushing's syndrome have been reported to have an increased incidence of carbohydrate intolerance due to peripheral insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, although the exact incidence and nature of this disorder have remained unclear. Few results have been published about insulin resistance and insulin secretion according to the level of glucose concentration, or about the reversibility of such defects in patients with Cushing's syndrome. METHODS: To assess the effect of glucocorticoid on the insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion in Cushing's syndrome, 15 patients with Cushing's syndrome were classified into 3 groups (normal glucose tolerance: NGT, impaired glucose tolerance: IGT, diabetes: DM) according to the degree of glucose tolerance based on the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Insulin modified, frequentlysampled, intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT) was performed before and after curative surgery on these patients and on 15 healthy control subjects. Data were evaluated by non-parametric statistical analysis. RESULTS: 1) Among the 15 patients with Cushing's syndrome, 3 (20%) were NGT, 4 (27%) IGT, and 8 (53%) DM, based on OGTT. Twenty-four hour urinary free cortisol (UFC) was significantly higher in the DM group. 2) Insulin sensitivity index (SI) of Cushing's syndrome was significantly lower than that of the control group (P=0.0024), but was not significantly different among the three Cushing's syndrome groups of NGT, IGT and DM. 3) Glucose mediated glucose disposal (SG) (Ed- confirm this abbreviation; it does not seem to match the definition) of Cushing's syndrome was not significantly different from that of the control group. 4) Insulin secretion (AIRg) of Cushing's syndrome tended to be high, but it was not significantly different from that of control. However, according to the level of glucose concentration there was significant difference in AlRg among the three Cushing's syndrome groups (P=0.0031); AIRg of DM was significantly lower than that of NGT. 5) After surgical treatment, parameters of insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion were normalized in 6 cured patients; 1 with NGT, 1 with IGT, and 4 with DM, preoperatively. Median SI of all 6 patients was significantly improved up to the normal range postoperatively (P=0.0022). Median AIRg of these 6 patients was balanced around that of normal control postoperatively (P=0.0286). CONCLUSION: Eighty percent of patients with Cushing's syndrome had abnormality of carbohydrate metabolism. Insulin sensitivity was significantly decreased in Cushing's syndrome. Insulin secretion was significantly higher only in the NGT and IGT groups of Cushing's syndrome. As the hypercortisolemia is exacerbated, insulin secretion is significantly decreased and causes DM, suggesting that glucocorticoid has a direct or indirect toxic effect on the pancreatic beta cell.
Key Words: Cushing's syndrome, Insulin sensitivity, Insulin secretion

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