Late-life depression, cortisol and the metabolic syndrome (Brief report).

ABSTRACT. Objectives: High-cortisol levels in depressed persons could possibly give rise to the metabolic syndrome. This study investigated cross-sectionally whether depression and high-cortisol levels increased the odds of metabolic syndrome in an older community-based sample. Methods: In 1,212 participants, aged > or =65 years, enrolled in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, depression (major [1-month diagnosis] or subthreshold [no 1-month diagnosis, but symptoms]), metabolic syndrome (modified Adult Treatment Panel III criteria), and free cortisol index (total serum cortisol/cortisol binding globulin) were assessed. Results: Major depression was not associated with the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio [OR] = 1.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.54-2.49), but subthreshold depression was associated with a decreased odds (OR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.37-0.82). Persons with higher levels of free cortisol index showed a higher odds of metabolic syndrome (OR per standard deviation increase = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.06-1.39). Conclusions: As persons with high-cortisol levels more often had metabolic syndrome, hypercortisolemia within depressed persons may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.