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Objective

To determine the independent contribution of androgenic sex hormones beyond visceral adipose tissue (VAT) on metabolic risk.

Design and Methods

A cross-sectional evaluation of 66 (36 white and 30 black) premenopausal overweight/obese women using multiple regression analyses to determine the independent effects of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), total testosterone (TT), and free testosterone using the free androgen index (FAI) on metabolic variables above VAT.

Results

SHBG contributed to the variance in insulin (P = 0.003), insulin resistance using HOMA-IR (P = 0.006), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol2 (P = 0.029). TT contributed to the variance in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.001), total cholesterol (P = 0.003), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = 0.003), and apolipoprotein B (P = 0.004). FAI contributed to the variance in the greatest number of metabolic variables beyond VAT. There was also a significant race–FAI interaction for fasting glucose (P = 0.013). A Pearson's correlation coefficient showed a significant relationship between FAI and glucose in white women (r = 0.48, P = 0.003) while showing no relationship in black women (r = −0.01, P = 0.941).

Conclusions

Our study showed that androgenic sex steroids contributed significantly to the variance in metabolic variables associated with health risk. However, they do not provide sufficient information relevant to glucose status in black women.