Abstract 13293: Qualitative Sex Differences in the Association Between Sex Hormones and Adiposity: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
Introduction: Men and women differ in the distribution of visceral and subcutaneous fat, and this may help explain sex differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD). Sex hormones affect regional adipose tissue deposition and may contribute to sex disparities in CVD risk. We hypothesized that the associations of sex hormone levels with visceral and subcutaneous fat differ for men and women.
Methods: Participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis with visceral and subcutaneous fat measurements from CT scan at visit 2 or 3, and sex hormone levels from baseline were included (n =1791). Body composition and sex hormone variables were log transformed. Multivariable linear regression with separate models for men and women was used to investigate the relationships between sex hormones and adiposity. Testing for non-linearity and interaction by sex, race/ethnicity, and age was conducted.
Results: Adjusting for height, men had 24% (95% confidence interval (CI): 17, 32) greater visceral fat area and 38% (95% CI: 41, 34) lesser subcutaneous fat area than women. In adjusted models, a significant positive association between estradiol and visceral fat was present in women, but not in men (Table). Higher total testosterone was significantly associated with lower visceral and subcutaneous fat in men, but not in women. Higher sex hormone binding globulin was associated with significantly lower levels of adiposity in both men and women. There was no significant non-linearity or interaction by race/ethnicity or age.
Conclusion: Sex hormones are significantly associated with body composition, and the associations of androgens differ qualitatively by sex. Greater androgenic state is associated with lower levels of adiposity in men, but higher adiposity in women. How this relates to sex disparities in CVD risk warrants further study.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.