SHBG, Bone Mineral Density, and Physical Function Among Injection Drug Users With and Without HIV and HCV

Jenny Pena Dias, Damani A. Piggott, Jing Sun, Leen Wehbeh, Joshua Garza, Alison Abraham, Jacquie Astemborski, Kendall F. Moseley, Shehzad Basaria, Ravi Varadhan, Todd T. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein that regulates the bioavailability of sex hormones and is higher in people with HIV (PWH) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). SHBG is associated with aging-related diseases, including osteoporosis and frailty in the general population. However, the relationship between SHBG concentration and bone mineral density (BMD) and physical function among PWH and HCV is unclear. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the association between chronic infection with HIV and HCV and SHBG, and to assess the relationship of circulating SHBG concentrations with low BMD, physical function impairment, and frailty. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted of 278 HCV-exposed (HCV antibody positive) adults enrolled with and without HIV and HCV from the AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience cohort study into 4 groups: HCV-/HIV-, HCV-/HIV+, HCV+/HIV-, and HCV+/HIV+. We evaluated the association between SHBG concentrations and grip strength, gait speed, Short Physical Performance Battery score, frailty (Fried Frailty Phenotype), and BMD (lumbar spine, total hip, and femoral neck T-score) by using adjusted multivariable regression stratified by sex. Results: SHBG concentrations were higher in women, in those with HIV RNA greater than 400 copies/mL (P = .02) and HCV RNA greater than 15 IU/mL (P < .001). In adjusted models, higher SHBG concentrations among women were statistically significantly associated with lower grip strength (-0.43 [95% CI, -0.77 to -0.081] kg/10 nmol/L, P < .05), higher odds of frailty (odds ratio, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.07 to 2.08], P < .05), and lower T-scores at the lumbar spine (-0.070 [95% CI, -0.15 to -0.001] SD/10 nmol/L T-score BMD, P < .05). Similar associations were not observed among men. Conclusion: Higher SHBG concentrations are associated with the presence of HIV and HCV viremia. Among women, but not men, higher SHBG concentrations were associated with lower grip strength, higher odds of frailty, and lower lumbar spine BMD. The underlying mechanisms of these associations require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2971-E2981
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • HCV
  • HIV
  • SHBG
  • aging-related diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


Dive into the research topics of 'SHBG, Bone Mineral Density, and Physical Function Among Injection Drug Users With and Without HIV and HCV'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this