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Understanding the role of glucocorticoids in obesity: tissue-specific alterations of corticosterone metabolism in obese Zucker rats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-3
Number of pages4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


The role of glucocorticoids in obesity is poorly understood. Observations in obese men suggest enhanced inactivation of cortisol by 5alpha-reductase and altered reactivation of cortisone to cortisol by 11betahydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11betaHSD1). These changes in glucocorticoid metabolism may influence corticosteroid receptor activation and feedback regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). We have compared corticosterone metabolism in vivo and in vitro in male obese and lean Zucker rats, aged 9 weeks (n = 8/group). Steroids were measured in 72-h urine and 0900 h trunk blood samples. 5alpha-Reductase type 1 and 11betaHSD activities were assessed in dissected tissues. Obese animals were hypercorticosteronemic and excreted more total corticosterone metabolites (2264+/-623 vs. 388+/-144 ng/72 h; P = 0.003), with a greater proportion being 5alpha-reduced or 11-oxidized. 11-Dehydrocorticosterone was also elevated in plasma (73+/-9 vs. 18+/-2 nM; P = 0.001) and urine (408+/-111 vs.

ID: 3118614