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Horm Metab Res. 2009 Mar;41(3):255-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1087190. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

Plasma levels of sex hormone-binding globulin, corticosteroid-binding globulin and cortisol in overweight subjects who develop impaired fasting glucose: a 3-year prospective study.

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Steroid and Immunobiochemistry Laboratory, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Circulating sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), and total and calculated free cortisol were measured in 206 overweight subjects to investigate whether or not they were markers of insulin resistance. Measurements were carried out on two occasions 36 months apart and subjects were grouped according to fasting plasma glucose. Fifty-one subjects, with a normal basal fasting glucose (<5.6 mmol/l) developed impaired fasting glucose 3 years later (> or = 5.6 mmol/l). Analysis either in toto or based on gender showed a highly significant increase in fasting insulin and insulin resistance, a modest increase in body mass index (BMI), but importantly no change in plasma SHBG, CBG, or cortisol concentrations. Subjects (n=101) with a normal fasting glucose both at baseline (<5.6 mmol/l) and at 36 months showed no significant change in fasting insulin, insulin resistance, SHBG, CBG, cortisol, or BMI. Cross-sectional analysis of the study population showed that plasma SHBG correlated negatively with insulin resistance both in men and women. Overall SHBG at baseline was not predictive of changes in fasting glucose. In females, plasma CBG correlated negatively with BMI. The major finding is that overweight subjects who developed impaired fasting glucose showed no significant change in plasma SHBG, CBG or cortisol, and therefore these indices are probably not early markers of insulin resistance in overweight subjects.

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