Korean J Med.  2007 Dec;73(6):565-574.

The association of sex hormones and the metabolic syndrome in apparently healthy Korean male adults

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. hongsiri@hanmail.net
  • 2Institute of Medical Research, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


BACKGROUND: Recent studies report an association of decreased testosterone levels with type 2 diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome. However, studies on correlations of testosterone with dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in Koreans are scarce. We analyzed the relationship between levels of sex hormones and metabolic syndrome, lipid profiles and insulin resistance in Korean adult males.
A total of 289 males were selected among the participants in a medical health check-up from June to July 2003 at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital Health Promotion Center. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the Modified National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP-ATP) III. The serum total testosterone level was measured using a radioimmunoassay and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was measured using a radioimmunometric assay.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 15.6% and the total testosterone level showed a significant correlation with the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting insulin, and uric acid even after adjustment for age and body mass index (BMI). Serum SHBG showed a significant correlation with diastolic blood pressure, uric acid, triglyceride, fasting insulin and insulin resistance indices. In logistic regression analysis in which age, drinking history, and smoking status were adjusted, decreased total testosterone and SHBG levels as well as increased estradiol levels showed significant correlations with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
This study shows that decreased total testosterone and SHBG levels and an increased estradiol level were significantly correlated with increased metabolic syndrome prevalence and dyslipidemia in healthy Korean male adults. Further studies are suggested for the association of sex hormone replacement and the changes in the metabolic status.


Testosterone; SHBG; Metabolic syndrome; Insulin resistance
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