Testosterone and estrone increase from the age of 70 years: findings from the Sex Hormones in Older Women Study
Context: There is a lack of understanding of what is normal in terms of sex steroid levels in older women.
Objective: To determine whether sex steroid levels vary with age in and establish reference ranges for women >70 years of age.
Design and Setting: Cross-sectional, community-based study.
Participants: Included 6392 women ≥70 years of age.
Main Outcome Measures: Sex steroids measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A reference group, to establish sex steroid age-specific reference ranges, excluded women using systemic or topical sex steroid, antiandrogen or glucocorticoid therapy, or an antiglycemic agent.
Results: The reference group of 5326 women had a mean age of 75.1 (±4.2) years, range of 70 to 94.7 years. Median values (range) were 181.2 pmol/L (3.7 to 5768.9) for estrone (E1), 0.38 nmol/L (0.035 to 8.56) for testosterone (T), 2.60 nmol/L (0.07 to 46.85) for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and 41.6 nmol/L (2.4 to 176.6) for SHBG. Estradiol and DHT were below method sensitivity in 66.1% and 72.7% of the samples, respectively. Compared with women aged 70 to 74 years, women aged ≥85 years had higher median levels of E1 (11.7%, P = 0.01), T (11.3%, P = 0.02), and SHBG (22.7%, P < 0.001) and lower DHEA (30% less, P < 0.001). Women with overweight and obesity had higher E1 (P < 0.001) and T (P < 0.03) and lower SHBG (P < 0.001) than did women with normal body mass index. Smokers had 17.2% higher median T levels (P = 0.005).
Conclusion: From the age of 70 years, T and E1 increase with age, despite a steady decline in DHEA. Whether E1 and T are biomarkers for longevity or contribute to healthy aging merits investigation.
Publication titleJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
Place of publication4350 East West Highway Suite 500, Bethesda, USA, Md, 20814-4110
Rights statementCopyright © 2019 Endocrine Society This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism following peer review. The version of record: Susan R Davis, Robin J Bell, Penelope J Robinson, David J Handelsman, Tom Gilbert, James Phung, Reena Desai, Jessica E Lockery, Robyn L Woods, Rory S Wolfe, Christopher M Reid, Mark R Nelson, Anne M Murray, John J McNeil, ASPREE Investigator Group, Testosterone and Estrone Increase From the Age of 70 Years: Findings From the Sex Hormones in Older Women Study, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 104, Issue 12, December 2019, Pages 6291–6300, is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2019-00743