Nonandrogenic anabolic hormones predict risk of frailty: European male ageing study prospective data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context: Low levels of nonandrogenic anabolic hormones have been linked with frailty, but evidence is conflicting and prospective data are largely lacking. Objective: To determine associations between nonandrogenic anabolic hormones and prospective changes in frailty status. Design/Setting: A 4.3-year prospective observational study of community-dwelling men participating in the European Male Ageing Study. Participants: Men (n = 3369) aged 40 to 79 years from eight European centers. Main Outcome Measures: Frailty status was determined using frailty phenotype (FP; n = 2114) and frailty index (FI; n = 2444). Analysis: Regression models assessed relationships between baseline levels of insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1), its binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), and parathyroid hormone (PTH), with changes in frailty status (worsening or improving frailty). Results: The risk of worsening FP and FI decreased with 1 standard deviation higher IGF-1, IGFBP-3, and 25OHD in models adjusted for age, body mass index, center, and baseline frailty [IGF-1: odds ratio (OR) for worsening FP, 0.82 (0.73, 0.93), percentage change in FI, -3.7% (-6.0, -1.5); IGFBP-3: 0.84 (0.75, 0.95), -4.2% (-6.4, -2.0); 25OHD: 0.84 (0.75, 0.95); -4.4%, (-6.7, -2.0)]. Relationships between IGF-1 and FI were attenuated after adjusting for IGFBP-3. Higher DHEA-S was associated with a lower risk of worsening FP only in men >70 years old [OR, 0.57 (0.35, 0.92)]. PTH was unrelated to change in frailty status. Conclusions: These longitudinal data confirm the associations between nonandrogenic anabolic hormones and the changes in frailty status. Interventional studies are needed to establish causality and determine therapeutic implications.


  • Agnieszka Swiecicka
  • Mark Lunt
  • Tomás Ahern
  • Terence W. O'Neill
  • György Bartfai
  • Felipe Casanueva
  • Gianni Forti
  • Aleksander Giwercman
  • Thang S Han
  • Michael E J Lean
  • Neil Pendleton
  • Margus Punab
  • Jolanta Slowikowska-Hilczer
  • Dirk Vanderschueren
  • Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi
  • Frederick C W Wu
  • Martin K. Rutter
  • EMAS Study Group
External organisations
  • University of Manchester
  • Barts Health NHS Trust
  • University of Szeged
  • CIBER de Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutricion (CIBEROBN)
  • Royal Holloway University of London
  • University of Glasgow
  • Tartu University Hospital
  • Medical University of Lodz
  • Catholic University of Leuven
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Turku
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • University of Florence
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2798-2806
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch