Cushing’s syndrome effects on the thyroid

Rosa Maria Paragliola, Andrea Corsello, Giampaolo Papi, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Salvatore Maria Corsello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The most known effects of endogenous Cushing’s syndrome are the phenotypic changes and metabolic consequences. However, hypercortisolism can exert important effects on other endocrine axes. The hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis activity can be impaired by the inappropriate cortisol secretion, which determinates the clinical and biochemical features of the “central hypothy-roidism”. These findings have been confirmed by several clinical studies, which also showed that the cure of hypercortisolism can determine the recovery of normal hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis activity. During active Cushing’s syndrome, the “immunological tolerance” guaranteed by the hypercortisolism can mask, in predisposed patients, the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases, which increases in prevalence after the resolution of hypercortisolism. However, the immunological mechanism is not the only factor that contributes to this phenomenon, which probably includes also deiodinase-impaired activity. Cushing’s syndrome can also have an indirect impact on thyroid function, considering that some drugs used for the medical control of hypercortisolism are associated with alterations in the thyroid function test. These considerations suggest the utility to check the thyroid function in Cushing’s syndrome patients, both during the active disease and after its remission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3131
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2021


  • Cushing’s syndrome; hypothalamus
  • Pituitary
  • Thyroid axis; thyroid function tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Cushing’s syndrome effects on the thyroid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this