Low sex hormone binding globulin is a potential marker for the metabolic syndrome in different ethnic groups

A. H. Heald, S. G. Anderson, F. Ivison, L. Riste, I. Laing, J. K. Cruickshank, J. M. Gibson

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    Hepatic sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) production is down-regulated by insulin and low levels reflect insulin resistance. Because insulin resistance is closely related to the development of cardiovascular disease in different ethnic groups we examined ethnic variation in SHBG across populations with different baseline cardiovascular risk and metabolic syndrome prevalence. Participants were population-based, of European (n = 142), Pakistani (n = 130), and African-Caribbean (AfC) origin (n = 193). SHBG, fasting lipids, and glucose concentrations plus insulin sensitivity (HOMA-S) were determined. Age adjusted SHBG was significantly lower in both Pakistani men and women. Circulating SHBG levels were lower in those with impaired vs. normal glucose homeostasis. SHBG correlated positively with HOMA-S (ρ = 0.28, p <0.001), and negatively with WHR (ρ = -0.38, p <0.001), BMI (r = -0.30, p <0.001), and diastolic blood pressure (ρ = -0.14, p <0.01) across all ethnic groups. In multivariate logistic regression analysis a low SHBG increased the likelihood of the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio [OR] = 0.42 [0.21 -0.82], p = 0.01) as did higher fasting NEFA (OR 1.47 [1.04-2.08], p = 0.03), low IGFBP-1 concentrations (OR 0.6 [0.44-0.81], p = 0.001), age (OR 1.05 [1.02-1.09], p = 0.003), and Pakistani ethnicity (p = 0.001) in a model which also contained gender, InCRP, IGF-I, and IGF-II. As ethnic differences in SHBG level closely parallel differences in insulin resistance. Its measurement may be useful in identifying individuals at particular risk of the metabolic syndrome, for early intervention. © J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)522-528
    Number of pages6
    JournalExperimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


    • Insulin resistance
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • SHBG


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