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OBJECTIVE: To assess the influence of sex hormones on markers of bone turnover and to explore the association between these markers and bone health in middle-aged and elderly European men. DESIGN: A cross-sectional population-based survey. METHODS: Men aged 40-79 years were recruited from population registers in eight European centres. Subjects completed a postal questionnaire which included questions concerning lifestyle and were invited to undergo quantitative ultrasound (QUS) of the calcaneus and to provide a fasting blood sample from which the bone markers serum N-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen (P1NP) and crosslinks (β C-terminal cross-linked telopeptide (β-cTX)), total testosterone, total oestradiol (E(2)), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) were measured. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of the hip and lumbar spine was performed in two centres. RESULTS: A total of 3120, mean age 59.9 years (s.d.=11.0) were included. After adjustment for centre, age, height, weight, lifestyle factors, season and other hormones, total and free E(2) were negatively associated with β-cTX but not P1NP while SHBG, IGF1 and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were positively associated with both β-cTX and P1NP. Total or free testosterone was not independently associated with either bone marker. After the same adjustments, higher levels of both bone markers were significantly associated with lower QUS parameters and lower DXA-assessed bone density at the total hip and lumbar spine. CONCLUSIONS: E(2), SHBG, IGF1 and PTH contribute significantly to the regulation/rate of bone turnover in middle-aged and older European men. Higher rates of bone remodelling are negatively associated with male bone health.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur j endocrinol

Publication Date





977 - 986


Absorptiometry, Photon, Adult, Aged, Aging, Bone Density, Bone Remodeling, Calcaneus, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Europe, European Continental Ancestry Group, Gonadal Steroid Hormones, Hip, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Spine, Time Factors, Ultrasonography