We aimed to test the association between age, BMI and sex-hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) in a homogenous cohort of white-European men presenting for primary couple’s infertility.
Data from 1547 infertile men were analysed. Health-significant comorbidities were scored with the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI). Fasting serum hormones were measured in every patient. Age was considered according to quartile groups (<33, 33-41, >41 years) and BMI as normal weight (18.5–24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25.0–29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (>30 kg/m2). Descriptive statistics and linear regression analysis tested the associations between age, BMI and SHBG.
Median SHBG levels increased across quartiles of age and decreased along with BMI increases (all P < 0.001). For each year increase in age, SHBG increased 0.32 nmol/L; conversely, for each unit increase in BMI, SHBG decreased by 1.1 nmol/L (all P < 0.001). SHBG levels decline with increasing BMI was greater than SHBG progressive increase with age. Overall, BMI explained 3.0 times more of the variability in SHBG than did ageing. At multivariate linear model, age and BMI were the most significant factors influencing SHBG concentration (all P < 0.001), after accounting for CCI, albumin levels and smoking status.
We found a wide distribution of SHBG concentrations across age and BMI values in primary infertile men. The association between BMI and lowered SHBG levels seems to be greater than the association of ageing with increased SHBG.