Association of free testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin with metabolic syndrome and subclinical atherosclerosis but not blood pressure in hypertensive perimenopausal women
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Submission date: 2015-05-13
Final revision date: 2015-08-20
Acceptance date: 2015-08-20
Online publication date: 2016-05-18
Publication date: 2016-05-16
Arch Med Sci 2016;12(3):521–528
Introduction: Data on the role of androgens as potential mediators of increasing cardiovascular risk in women at midlife are controversial. The aim of the study was to analyze the relationship of free testosterone (FT) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) with blood pressure and subclinical organ damage and metabolic syndrome (MS) in middle aged hypertensive women.
Material and methods: One hundred and fifty-two women with newly diagnosed arterial hypertension were included in the study. In all subjects blood pressure measurements were performed as well as echocardiographic examination with left ventricular structure and function assessment (GE Vivid 7.0), carotid ultrasound with measurement of intima-media thickness (IMT), and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) measurement (Sphygmocor). A fasting blood sample was taken to measure glucose and lipid concentrations. Serum testosterone and SHBG were measured. Free testosterone was calculated according to the Vermeulen formula. Metabolic syndrome was defined following the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) recommendations.
Results: Free testosterone was significantly higher and SHBG lower in women with MS independently of menopausal status. The odds ratio of MS per quartile increment in FT after adjustment for covariates was 2.06 (95% CI: 1.16–3.65). There was no correlation between FT, SHBG and blood pressure. Free testosterone was associated with decreased left ventricular diastolic function (E/A ratio  = –0.19, p = 0.05) and subclinical atherosclerosis (IMT  = 0.34, p = 0.009), but not arterial stiffness.
Conclusions: Free testosterone and SHBG independently of menopause status are related to MS. Free testosterone is associated with worse metabolic profile, subclinical atherosclerosis and impaired diastolic function of the left ventricle.