Cross-sectional and longitudinal determinants of serum sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in a cohort of community-dwelling men

Prabin Gyawali, Sean A. Martin, Leonie Heilbronn, Andrew D. Vincent, Alicia J. Jenkins, Andrzej S. Januszewski, Anne W. Taylor, Robert J.T. Adams, Peter D. O’Loughlin, Gary Wittert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Despite its widespread clinical use, there is little data available from population-based studies on the determinants of serum sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). We aimed to examine multifactorial determinants of circulating SHBG levels in community-dwelling men. Study participants comprised randomly selected 35–80 y.o. men (n = 2563) prospectively-followed for 5 years (n = 2038) in the Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study. After excluding men with illness or medications known to affect SHBG (n = 172), data from 1786 men were available at baseline, and 1476 at follow-up. The relationship between baseline body composition (DXA), serum glucose, insulin, triglycerides, thyroxine (fT4), sex steroids (total testosterone (TT), oestradiol (E2)), and pro-inflammatory cytokines and serum SHBG level at both baseline & follow-up was determined by linear and penalized logistic regression models adjusting for age, lifestyle & demographic, body composition, metabolic, and hormonal factors. Restricted cubic spline analyses was also conducted to capture possible non-linear relationships. At baseline there were positive cross-sectional associations between age (β = 0.409, p<0.001), TT (β = 0.560, p<0.001), fT4 (β = 0.067, p = 0.019) and SHBG, and negative associations between triglycerides (β = -0.112, p<0.001), abdominal fat mass (β = -0.068, p = 0.032) and E2 (β = -0.058, p = 0.050) and SHBG. In longitudinal analysis the positive determinants of SHBG at 4.9 years were age (β = 0.406, p = <0.001), TT (β = 0.461, p = <0.001), and fT4 (β = 0.040, p = 0.034) and negative determinants were triglycerides (β = -0.065, p = 0.027) and abdominal fat mass (β = -0.078, p = 0.032). Taken together these data suggest low SHBG is a marker of abdominal obesity and increased serum triglycerides, conditions which are known to have been associated with low testosterone and low T4.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0200078
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this