Gonadal sex steroid status and bone health in middle-aged and elderly European men

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The influence of sex steroids on calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters was assessed in a population sample of middle-aged and elderly European men. Higher free and total E-2 though not testosterone, were independently associated with higher QUS parameters. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between QUS parameters and sex steroids in middle-aged and elderly European men. Three thousand one hundred forty-one men aged between 40 and 79 years were recruited from eight European centres for participation in a study of male ageing: the European Male Ageing Study. Subjects were invited by letter to attend for an interviewer-administered questionnaire, blood sample and QUS of the calcaneus (Hologic-SAHARA). Blood was assessed for sex steroids including oestradiol (E-2), testosterone (T), free and bio-available E-2 and T and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Serum total T was not associated with any of the QUS parameters. Free T and both free and total E-2 were positively related to all QUS readings, while SHBG concentrations were negatively associated. These relationships were observed in both older and younger (< 60 years) men. In a multivariate model, after adjustment for age, centre, height, weight, physical activity levels and smoking, free E-2 and SHBG, though not free T, remained independently associated with the QUS parameters. After further adjustment for IGF-1, however, the association with SHBG became non-significant. Higher free and total E-2 are associated with bone health not only among the elderly but also middle-aged European men.


  • D. Vanderschueren
  • S. R. Pye
  • K. Venken
  • H. Borghs
  • J. Gaytant
  • I. T. Huhtaniemi
  • J. E. Adams
  • K. A. Ward
  • G. Bartfai
  • F. F. Casanueva
  • J. D. Finn
  • G. Forti
  • T. S. Han
  • K. Kula
  • F. Labrie
  • M. E. J. Lean
  • N. Pendleton
  • M. Punab
  • A. J. Silman
  • F. C. W. Wu
  • T. W. O'Neill
  • S. Boonen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • Testosterone, SHBG, Sex steroids, Epidemiology, Oestradiol, Ultrasound
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1339
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch