Sex hormone-binding globulin and risk of type 2 diabetes in women and men

Eric L. Ding, Yiqing Song, Jo Ann E. Manson, David J. Hunter, Cathy C. Lee, Nader Rifai, Julie E. Buring, J. Michael Gaziano, Simin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

431 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Circulating sex hormone-binding globulin levels are inversely associated with insulin resistance, but whether these levels can predict the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is uncertain. METHODS: We performed a nested case-control study of postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Study who were not using hormone therapy (359 with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and 359 controls). Plasma levels of sex hormone-binding globulin were measured; two polymorphisms of the gene encoding sex hormone-binding globulin, SHBG, that were robustly associated with the protein levels were genotyped and applied in mendelian randomization analyses. We then conducted a replication study in an independent cohort of men from the Physicians' Health Study II (170 with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and 170 controls). RESULTS: Among women, higher plasma levels of sex hormone-binding globulin were prospectively associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes: multivariable odds ratios were 1.00 for the first (lowest) quartile of plasma levels, 0.16 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.08 to 0.33) for the second quartile, 0.04 (95% CI, 0.01 to 0.12) for the third quartile, and 0.09 (95% CI, 0.03 to 0.21) for the fourth (highest) quartile (P<0.001 for trend). These prospective associations were replicated among men (odds ratio for the highest quartile of plasma levels vs. the lowest quartile, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.36; P<0.001 for trend). As compared with homozygotes of the respective wild-type allele, carriers of a variant allele of the SHBG single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs6259 had 10% higher sex hormone-binding globulin levels (P=0.005), and carriers of an rs6257 variant had 10% lower plasma levels (P=0.004); variants of both SNPs were also associated with a risk of type 2 diabetes in directions corresponding to their associated sex hormone-binding globulin levels. In mendelian randomization analyses, the predicted odds ratio of type 2 diabetes per standard-deviation increase in the plasma level of sex hormone-binding globulin was 0.28 (95% CI, 0.13 to 0.58) among women and 0.29 (95% CI, 0.15 to 0.58) among men, a finding that suggests that sex hormone-binding globulin may have a causal role in the risk of type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: Low circulating levels of sex hormone-binding globulin are a strong predictor of the risk of type 2 diabetes in women and men. The clinical usefulness of both SHBG genotypes and plasma levels in stratification and intervention for the risk of type 2 diabetes warrants further examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1163
Number of pages12
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume361
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 17 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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