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SUMMARY: The influence of sex steroids on calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters was assessed in a population sample of middle-aged and elderly European men. Higher free and total E(2) though not testosterone, were independently associated with higher QUS parameters. INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between QUS parameters and sex steroids in middle-aged and elderly European men. METHODS: Three thousand one hundred forty-one men aged between 40 and 79 years were recruited from eight European centres for participation in a study of male ageing: the European Male Ageing Study. Subjects were invited by letter to attend for an interviewer-administered questionnaire, blood sample and QUS of the calcaneus (Hologic-SAHARA). Blood was assessed for sex steroids including oestradiol (E(2)), testosterone (T), free and bio-available E(2) and T and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). RESULTS: Serum total T was not associated with any of the QUS parameters. Free T and both free and total E(2) were positively related to all QUS readings, while SHBG concentrations were negatively associated. These relationships were observed in both older and younger (<60 years) men. In a multivariate model, after adjustment for age, centre, height, weight, physical activity levels and smoking, free E(2) and SHBG, though not free T, remained independently associated with the QUS parameters. After further adjustment for IGF-1, however, the association with SHBG became non-significant. CONCLUSION: Higher free and total E(2) are associated with bone health not only among the elderly but also middle-aged European men.

Original publication




Journal article


Osteoporos int

Publication Date





1331 - 1339


Adult, Aged, Aging, Body Height, Body Weight, Calcaneus, Estradiol, Gonadal Steroid Hormones, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin, Smoking, Testosterone, Ultrasonography