Body composition and cardiovascular risk markers after remission of Cushing's Disease: A prospective study using whole-body MRI

Eliza B. Geer, Wei Shen, Erika Strohmayer, Kalmon D. Post, Pamela U. Freda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Context: Cushing's Disease (CD) alters fat distribution, muscle mass, adipokine profile, and cardiovascular risk factors. It is not known whether remission entirely reverses these changes. Objectives: Our objective was to determine whether the adverse body composition and cardiovascular risk profile in CD change after remission. Design, Setting, and Patients: Fourteen CD patients were studied prospectively: before surgery (active disease) and again postoperatively 6 months after discontinuing oral glucocorticoids (remission). Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging was used to examine lean and fat tissue distributions. Outcome Measures: Body composition (skeletal muscle and fat in the visceral, bone marrow, sc, and inter-muscular compartments) and cardiovascular risk factors (serum insulin, glucose, leptin, highmolecular-weight adiponectin, C-reactive protein, and lipid profile) were measured in active CD and remission (mean 20 months after surgery). Results: Remission decreased visceral, pelvic bone marrow, sc (including trunk and limb sc), and total fat; waist circumference; and weight (P < 0.05). Remission altered fat distribution, resulting in decreased visceral/total fat (P = 0.04) and visceral fat/skeletal muscle ratios (P = 0.006). Remission decreased the absolute muscle mass (P = 0.015). Cardiovascular risk factors changed: insulin resistance, leptin, and total cholesterol decreased (P<0.05), but adiponectin, C-reactive protein, and other lipid measures did not change. Conclusions: CD remission reduced nearly all fat depots and reverted fat to a distribution more consistent with favorable cardiovascular risk but decreased skeletal muscle. Remission improved some but not all cardiovascular risk markers. Remission from CD dramatically improves body composition abnormalities but may still be associated with persistent cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1702-1711
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


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