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Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1997 Jul-Sep;22(3):229-35.

Nonlinear binding of sex steroids to albumin and sex hormone binding globulin.

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Research Department, Theagenion Cancer Hospital of Thessaloniki, Greece.


We have studied the binding of sex steroids to albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) using gel filtration chromatography for the separation of the bound from the free fraction of the steroid. It was found that estradiol binds to the globulin and albumin in a nonlinear manner: a lag period of binding was observed at low concentrations of the proteins, followed by an exponential increase of the bound hormone as the protein concentration increased. The same was observed with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and albumin but not with globulin. In the presence of a constant concentration of albumin, the increase of SHBG concentrations resulted in a rapid transfer of estradiol from albumin to globulin while the transfer of DHT was moderate. When whole serum was used, the increase of its amount again resulted in the transfer of estradiol from albumin to globulin. Our study showed that a substantial increase of globulin-bound hormone can occur, following small variations of the protein. This offers obvious advantages to the organism, by saving energy, material and time and plays a basic role in estradiol transfer from albumin to the much more biologically active globulin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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