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J Steroid Biochem. 1989 Feb;32(2):327-34.

On the regulation of sex-hormone-binding globulin--a challenge of an old dogma and outlines of an alternative mechanism.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden.


In this review, the different factors known to affect SHBG levels are discussed with respect to their possible significance in the physiological regulation of this protein: Sex steroids, puberty, nutritional status, thyroid hormones and liver disease. It is concluded that the serum levels of SHBG are related to general metabolic factors, nutritional status, growth and ageing than to the estrogen/androgen balance. The authors suggest that SHBG is regulated primarily by growth hormone, somatomedin-C and possibly other growth factors. Growth hormone may promote SHBG synthesis in the liver while somatomedin-C may stimulate its extravasation and uptake in target tissues. It is suggested that sex steroids merely have an indirect, modulating influence.

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