Endogenous sex hormones, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and other lipoprotein fractions in men.
At least some of the large preponderance for coronary heart disease in men has been attributed to differences in lipid and lipoprotein levels; notably, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), a protective factor, is higher in women. The sex differences in lipid levels have been postulated to be related to differences in sex hormones. In a southern California cohort of 391 men aged 30-79 years, HDL-C levels were positively correlated and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) levels were inversely correlated with testosterone levels independently of age, body mass index, physical exercise, smoking, and alcohol intake. Mean HDL-C levels were 12% higher and VLDL-C levels were 40% lower in the highest compared with the lowest quartile of testosterone level. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were positively related to estrone, estradiol, and androstenedione levels. It is premature to attribute the sex differential in lipid cardiovascular risk profiles to higher levels of testosterone per se in men, since testosterone levels are favorably associated with cardiovascular risk while estrogen levels have the converse relation in men. The differing effects and interactions of specific endogenous sex hormones in men and women require further elucidation.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association