Relationship between androgenic hormones and arterial stiffness, based on longitudinal hormone measurements

Hidetaka Hougaku, Jerome L. Fleg, Samer S. Najjar, Edward G. Lakatta, S. Mitchell Harman, Marc R. Blackman, E. Jeffrey Metter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Circulating testosterone levels (T) decrease with age in men. Low T has been associated with coronary disease and with risk factors for atherosclerosis. This study examines the relationship in men between androgenic hormones and arterial stiffness, a major risk factor for cardiovascular events. T, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) were measured longitudinally over 33 yr (follow-up 11.8 ± 8.3 yr) in 901 men from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, of whom 206 (68.1 ± 13.7 yr) underwent carotid duplex ultrasonography. The 901 men were used to characterize age-associated hormone levels by means of mixed-effects models. Hormone values were estimated for the 206 men at the time of ultrasonography. Free T index (FTI) was calculated by dividing T by SHBG. The arterial stiffness index was calculated from peak systolic and end diastolic diameters of the common carotid artery and simultaneous brachial artery blood pressure. T, FTI, and DHEAS were correlated negatively with age, pulse pressure (PP), and stiffness index (each P < 0.01), whereas SHBG was correlated positively with age and stiffness index (P < 0.01). However, T was the only hormone that predicted the stiffness index after adjustment for age, PP, fasting plasma glucose, body mass index, and total cholesterol. T values 5-10 yr before the carotid study also predicted the stiffness index (P < 0.05). Thus the adverse influence of low T on the cardiovascular system in men may be mediated in part via the effects of T on vascular structure and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E234-E242
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Carotid ultrasonography
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Intimal medial thickness
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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