A meta-analysis of cortisol response to challenge in human aging: Importance of gender

Christian Otte, Stacey Hart, Thomas C. Neylan, Charles R. Marmar, Kristine Yaffe, David C. Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

252 Scopus citations

Abstract

An increased cortisol response to challenge is associated with a variety of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, depression, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension. Among the healthy elderly, an increased cortisol response to challenge may be a risk factor for developing these age-related disorders.We searched Pubmed, Embase, PsychInfo, Biosis, and Digital Dissertations (January 1966-June 2003) and included 45 parallel-group (young vs. old subjects) studies that used either a pharmacological or psychological challenge in healthy volunteers and measured cortisol response to challenge. We calculated effect sizes (Cohen's d) for the standardized mean differences between groups.Compared to younger controls (n=670, mean age 28 years ±5), older subjects (n=625, 69±6) showed a larger cortisol response to challenge defined as stronger response to stimulation or less inhibition after a suppression test (d=0.42, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.26-0.57). The effect of age on cortisol release was significantly stronger in women (d=0.65, 95% CI 0.34-0.97) than men (d=0.24, 95% CI 0.02-0.47).Our results demonstrate that aging increases the cortisol response to challenge. This effect of age on cortisol response is almost three-fold stronger in women than men. Prospective studies should explore whether the higher cortisol response in the elderly is a risk factor for developing neuropsychiatric and medical disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-91
Number of pages12
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer
  • Cortisol
  • Depression
  • Gender
  • HPA axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A meta-analysis of cortisol response to challenge in human aging: Importance of gender'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this