New England Research Institutes, 9 Galen Street, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472, USA.
Background: Previous studies indicate that testosterone (T) is positively correlated with lean mass and inversely correlated with fat mass in men; however, the directionality of these associations, as well as the association with other hormones including estradiol (E2) and SHBG, is unclear.
Methods: We examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of E2, T, SHBG, and E2/T ratio with body composition among men ages 30 to 79 in the Boston Area Community Health/Bone Survey. Total, trunk, and appendicular lean and fat mass were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at baseline, and weight and waist/hip circumference were measured at baseline and follow-up. Partial Pearson correlation coefficients were used to estimate the linear relationship between each body composition measure and log-transformed hormone variable.
Results: In cross-sectional analyses of 821 men, T, calculated free T, and SHBG were inversely correlated with fat mass, weight, body mass index, waist/hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio, with multivariable-adjusted correlations ranging from -0.13 to -0.37. Calculated free E2 was positively correlated with percentage total (r = .13) and trunk (r = .15) fat mass, and E2/T was positively correlated with all measures examined (r = .13-.40). There were no significant multivariable-adjusted longitudinal associations between baseline hormone levels and change in weight, body mass index, waist/hip circumference, or waist-to-hip ratio after an average follow-up of 4.8 years.
Conclusions: We observed significant cross-sectional associations between hormone levels, including E2, T, and E2/T, and body composition measures in men. Longitudinal analyses showing no influence of baseline hormone levels on change in anthropometric measures imply that body composition affects hormone levels and not the reverse.
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