OBJECTIVE: Mild hypoandrogenism in men is associated with features of the metabolic syndrome, but the association with the metabolic syndrome itself using an accepted definition has not been described. DESIGN: Men with the metabolic syndrome were identified and testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels were determined in a population-based cohort of 1896 non-diabetic middle-aged Finnish men. RESULTS: Calculated free testosterone and SHBG were 11% and 18% lower (P<0.001) in men with the metabolic syndrome (n=345, World Health Organisation definition). After categorisation by tertiles and adjusting for age and body mass index, total and free testosterone and SHBG were inversely associated with concentrations of insulin, glucose, triglycerides, C-reactive protein (CRP) and CRP-adjusted ferritin and positively associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Men with free testosterone levels in the lowest third were 2.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.0-3.7) times more likely to have the metabolic syndrome in age-adjusted analyses, and 1.7 (95% CI 1.2-2.4) times more likely even after further adjusting for body mass index. Exclusion of men with cardiovascular disease did not alter the association. The inverse association of SHBG with the metabolic syndrome was somewhat stronger. CONCLUSIONS: Low testosterone and SHBG levels were strongly associated not only with components of the metabolic syndrome, but also with the metabolic syndrome itself, independently of body mass index. Furthermore, sex hormones were associated with inflammation and body iron stores. Even in the absence of late-stage consequences such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, subtle derangements in sex hormones are present in the metabolic syndrome, and may contribute to its pathogenesis.
DE Laaksonen, L Niskanen, K Punnonen, K Nyyssonen, TP Tuomainen, R Salonen, R Rauramaa and JT Salonen
T Lappalainen, M Kolehmainen, U Schwab, L Pulkkinen, D E Laaksonen, R Rauramaa, M Uusitupa and H Gylling
Serum amyloid A (SAA) is a novel link between increased adipose tissue mass and low-grade inflammation in obesity. Little is known about the factors regulating its serum concentration and mRNA levels. We investigated the association between SAA and leptin in obese and normal weight subjects and analyzed the effect of weight reduction on serum SAA concentration and gene expression in adipose tissue of the obese subjects.
Seventy-five obese subjects (60±7 years, body mass index (BMI) 32.9±2.8 kg/m2, mean±s.d.) with impaired fasting plasma glucose or impaired glucose tolerance and other features of metabolic syndrome, and 11 normal weight control subjects (48±9 years, BMI 23.7±1.9 kg/m2) were studied at the baseline. Twenty-eight obese subjects underwent a 12-week intensive weight reduction program followed by 5 months of weight maintenance. Blood samples and abdominal s.c. adipose tissue biopsies were taken at the baseline and after the follow-up. Gene expression was studied using real-time quantitative PCR.
The gene expressions in women and serum concentrations of leptin and SAA were interrelated independently of body fat mass in the obese subjects (r=0.54, P=0.001; r=0.24, P=0.039 respectively). In multiple linear regression analyses, leptin mRNA explained 38% of the variance in SAA mRNA (P=0.002) in the obese women. Weight loss of at least 5% increased SAA mRNA expression by 48 and 36% in men and women, but serum SAA concentrations did not change.
The association between SAA and leptin suggests an interaction between these two adipokines, which may have implications in inflammatory processes related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome.