Sex hormone-binding globulin, but not testosterone, is associated prospectively and independently with incident metabolic syndrome in men: the framingham heart study.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: The association between total testosterone and metabolic syndrome has prompted speculation that low testosterone contributes to the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome in men. We determined whether testosterone or sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is independently associated with the risk of metabolic syndrome. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Cross-sectional relationships of hormone levels with metabolic syndrome were assessed in a sample of men in generation 2 of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) who did not receive testosterone or androgen-deprivation therapy (n = 1,625) and confirmed in a validation sample of men in FHS generation 3 (n = 1,912). Hormone levels in generation 2 examination 7 were related prospectively to incident metabolic syndrome 6.6 years later at examination 8. Testosterone was measured using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, SHBG was measured by immunofluorometric assay, and free testosterone was calculated. Metabolic syndrome was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. RESULTS Cross-sectionally, testosterone and SHBG were more strongly associated with metabolic syndrome than free testosterone in the training sample. SHBG, but not testosterone or free testosterone, was significantly associated with metabolic syndrome after adjusting for age, smoking, BMI, and insulin sensitivity (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-IR]). These findings were confirmed in a validation sample. Longitudinally, SHBG at examination 7, but not testosterone or free testosterone, was associated with incident metabolic syndrome at examination 8 after adjusting for age, smoking, BMI, and HOMA-IR. Multivariable analyses suggested that age, BMI, and insulin sensitivity independently affect SHBG and testosterone levels and the risk of metabolic syndrome and its components. CONCLUSIONS: SHBG, but not testosterone, is independently associated with the risk of metabolic syndrome. These data do not reveal an independent prospective relationship between testosterone and metabolic syndrome in men.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bhasin, S; Jasjua, GK; Pencina, M; D'Agostino, R; Coviello, AD; Vasan, RS; Travison, TG

Published Date

  • November 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 2464 - 2470

PubMed ID

  • 21926281

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21926281

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1935-5548

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2337/dc11-0888


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States