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Metabolism. 1998 Jan;47(1):70-4.

Sex hormone-binding globulin and insulin resistance in African-American women.

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  • 1Institute for Women's Health, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Philadelphia, PA 19129, USA.


Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) binds testosterone, determining the level of free, biologically active hormone, and is a sensitive indicator of androgen status in women. SHBG is strongly correlated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL), central obesity, and insulin sensitivity in Caucasian and Mexican-American women, thereby acting as a biologic marker for cardiovascular disease risk. The purpose of this study was to determine if SHBG was a significant correlate of metabolic cardiovascular risk factors in African-American women. Eighty-one nondiabetic, normotensive African-American women were enrolled (mean age, 30 years). After excluding women on oral contraceptives (n = 19), 62 women were examined during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. All subjects underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic insulin clamp, and the lipid and sex hormone levels were measured. Correlation analyses showed a significant correlation between SHBG and the following variables in women: central obesity, body mass index (BMI), HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B (apoB), insulin sensitivity adjusted for lean mass (M'), and the sum of insulin during the OGTT. The strongest correlates of SHBG in women were measures of insulin resistance (r = .421, P < .001). SHBG appears to be a biologic marker for insulin resistance, which is linked to cardiovascular risk, in African-American women.

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