That research outcome extends the results of a study that the team published last year in the journal. That study reported that SHBG predicted type 2 diabetes risk among black, Hispanic, and Asian or Pacific islander postmenopausal women. Previously it had only been shown in white men and women.
There are several reasons why tracking demographic and lifestyle associations with SHBG levels is important, Liu said. For one, they give doctors who want to assess type 2 diabetes risk or metabolic syndrome a basic frame of reference on what levels of SHBG might exist in patients based on their lifestyle and demographics.
"How do you stratify risk for clinical and preventative interventions?" Liu said. "If you want to use this clinically, you have to establish a population reference, for instance in the sense of age or ethnicity."
The research may also help to strengthen possible strategies for intervention. Age cannot be affected, but physical activity, BMI, coffee intake, and estrogen therapy can all be adjusted. Knowing that these factors are linked to the biomarker suggests that experiments could be done to see whether changing those factors exercising more, for example could change levels of the protein over time in individuals, Liu said. That, in turn, could affect their ultimate diabetes risk.
In addition, the findings may also help explain the possible physiological connections between those factors and risk of type 2 diabetes. For example, drinking regular coffee and having a lower BMI have each independently been associated with a lower risk for the condition. The new research suggests that SHBG may have an intermediating role in those associations. The protein is produced in the liver, Liu said, and it may be that it is a bellwether of the body's metabolism.
Liu said the study supports the idea of adding SHBG, which is read
|Contact: David Orenstein|