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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X

Abstract

REIS, A.F.; MIRANDA, W.L.  and  CHACRA, A.R.. Low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin and hyperproinsulinemia as markers of increased pancreatic ß-cell demand in men. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1998, vol.31, n.12, pp. 1545-1551. ISSN 1414-431X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X1998001200006.

Low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) are considered to be an indirect index of hyperinsulinemia, predicting the later onset of diabetes mellitus type 2. In the insulin resistance state and in the presence of an increased pancreatic ß-cell demand (e.g. obesity) both absolute and relative increases in proinsulin secretion occur. In the present study we investigated the correlation between SHBG and pancreatic ß-cell secretion in men with different body compositions. Eighteen young men (30.0 ± 2.4 years) with normal glucose tolerance and body mass indexes (BMI) ranging from 22.6 to 43.2 kg/m2 were submitted to an oral glucose tolerance test (75 g) and baseline and 120-min blood samples were used to determine insulin, proinsulin and C-peptide by specific immunoassays. Baseline SHBG values were significantly correlated with baseline insulin (r = -0.58, P<0.05), proinsulin (r = -0.47, P<0.05), C-peptide (r = -0.55, P<0.05) and also with proinsulin at 120 min after glucose load (r = -0.58, P<0.05). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that proinsulin values at 120 min were the strongest predictor of SHBG (r = -0.58, P<0.05). When subjects were divided into obese (BMI >28 kg/m2, N = 8) and nonobese (BMI £25 kg/m2, N = 10) groups, significantly lower levels of SHBG were found in the obese subjects. The obese group had significantly higher baseline proinsulin, C-peptide and 120-min proinsulin and insulin levels. For the first time using a specific assay for insulin determination, a strong inverse correlation between insulinemia and SHBG levels was confirmed. The finding of a strong negative correlation between SHBG levels and pancreatic ß-cell secretion, mainly for the 120-min post-glucose load proinsulin levels, reinforces the concept that low SHBG levels are a suitable marker of increased pancreatic ß-cell demand.

Keywords : insulin; proinsulin; sex hormone-binding globulin; obesity.

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