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Association between androgens, intima-media thickness and the metabolic syndrome in obese adolescent girls

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Summary Background 

While an association between androgens and the metabolic syndrome (MS) is well established in obese women, studies concerning this relationship are scarce in obese adolescent girls. Therefore, we analysed the relationships between androgens, MS and intima-media thickness (IMT) in this age-group. Methods 

In 160 obese girls (aged 12–18 years, mean BMI: 32·6 ± 5·0 kg/m2), androgens [testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), androstenedione], SHBG and the components of MS (waist circumference, blood pressure (BP), lipids, uric acid, insulin, glucose, 2 h glucose in oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT)) were studied. Furthermore, IMT was determined in a subgroup of 71 randomly chosen girls. Results 

Testosterone correlated significantly to systolic BP (r = 0·20), diastolic BP (r = 0·24), 2 h glucose in oGTT (r = 0·30), triglycerides (r = 0·19), uric acid (r = 0·17), waist circumference (r = 0·25) and IMT (r = 0·54). These relationships (except for waist circumference and uric acid) were independent of BMI and insulin resistance index homeostasis model assessment. In contrast to testosterone, DHEA-S, androstenedione and SHBG showed no or weaker correlations to any parameter of MS. The 48 girls with MS demonstrated significantly higher testosterone (1·8 ± 0·7 nmol/l; P = 0·025) and DHEA-S (4·7 ± 2·3 μmol/l; P = 0·008) concentrations as compared with the 112 girls without MS (mean testosterone 1·5 ± 0·7 nmol/l, mean DHEA-S 3·6 ± 2·3 μmol/l). Conclusions 

Testosterone was significantly related to MS and its components in obese adolescent girls independently of BMI and insulin resistance. As IMT was significantly associated with testosterone, this supports the clinical relevance of this finding.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Paediatric Nutrition Medicine, Vestische Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Witten/Herdecke, Witten 2: Department of Paediatric Radiology, Vestische Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Witten/Herdecke, Datteln, Germany

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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