Serum cortisol-to-cortisone ratio and blood pressure in severe obesity before and after weight loss


BACKGROUND/AIMS: The pathogenesis of obesity-associated hypertension is poorly understood. Serum cortisol-to-cortisone ratio (F/E ratio) is a marker of cortisol metabolism. Our objective was to determine whether the serum F/E ratio is associated with blood pressure (BP) in patients after significant weight loss (≥15% from baseline weight).

METHODS: Sera from 43 nondiabetic, severely obese males participating in a weight management program were assayed for F and E by mass spectrometry. We assessed whether changes in the F/E ratio accompanying weight loss correlate with changes in the systolic (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP). Linear regression was used to evaluate change in the F/E ratio as a predictor of change in BP.

RESULTS: The body mass index decreased from 40.8 ± 5.6 to 33.7 ± 4.8 (p < 0.001); also, SBP (133.2 ± 13.8 vs. 124.1 ± 14.3 mm Hg; p < 0.001) and DBP (69.8 ± 8.0 vs. 66.6 ± 9.4 mm Hg; p = 0.026) decreased during the study. The baseline F/E ratio tended to associate with baseline DBP (Spearman’s r = -0.29, p = 0.06), and change in the serum F/E ratio correlated with change in DBP (Spearman’s r = -0.32, p = 0.036). Change in the F/E ratio also tended to associate with change in SBP (Spearman’s r = -0.27, p = 0.08). A multiple linear regression model adjusted for change in the F/E ratio and age explained 22% of the variance in SBP change (R(2) = 0.22, p = 0.007). Change in the F/E ratio independently predicted change in SBP (p = 0.036).

CONCLUSION: In our sample of nondiabetic, severely obese males, change in the serum F/E ratio was associated with change in BP after weight loss.

CardioRenal Medicine, 6(1)