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Evidence for geographical and racial variation in serum sex steroid levels in older men.

Journal article
Authors Eric S Orwoll
Carrie M Nielson
Fernand Labrie
Elizabeth Barrett-Connor
Jane A Cauley
Steven R Cummings
Kristine Ensrud
Magnus K Karlsson
Edith Lau
P C Leung
Östen Lunggren
Dan Mellström
Alan L Patrick
Marcia L Stefanick
Kozo Nakamura
Noriko Yoshimura
Joseph Zmuda
Liesbeth Vandenput
Claes Ohlsson
Published in The journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Volume 95
Issue 10
Pages E151-60
ISSN 1945-7197
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Pages E151-60
Language en
Subject categories Endocrinology


Background: Despite considerable racial and geographical differences in human phenotypes and in the incidence of diseases that may be associated with sex steroid action, there are few data concerning variation in sex steroid levels among populations. We designed an international study to determine the degree to which geography and race influence sex steroid levels in older men. Methods: Using mass spectrometry, concentrations of serum androgens, estrogens, and sex steroid precursors/metabolites were measured in 5003 older men from five countries. SHBG levels were assessed using radioimmunoassay. Results: There was substantial geographical variation in the levels of sex steroids, precursors, and metabolites, as well as SHBG. For instance, Asian men in Hong Kong and Japan, but not in the United States, had levels of total testosterone approximately 20% higher than in other groups. Even greater variation was present in levels of estradiol, SHBG, and dihydrotestosterone. Group differences in body mass index did not explain most geographical differences. In addition, body mass index-independent racial differences were present; Black men had higher levels of estrogens (estradiol, estrone), and Asian men had lower levels of glucuronidated androgen metabolites. Conclusions: On a global scale, there are important geographical and racial differences in the concentrations of serum sex steroids and SHBG in older men.

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