Objective: Higher frequency of subclinical atherosclerosis has been linked with androgen levels in postmenopausal women. Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are well-recognized atherogenic molecules. Therefore, we investigated the association of postmenopausal sex steroid and metabolic status with serum AGE levels.
Methods: Serum sex hormones, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and AGEs were assessed in 106 healthy postmenopausal women. Insulin resistance was estimated by using the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).
Results: Women in the highest testosterone quartile (Q4) had higher serum AGE levels (Q1, 5.22 IU/mL ± 0.50; Q2, 5.08 ± 0.53 IU/mL; Q3, 5.78 ± 1.10 IU/mL vs Q4, 7.35 ± 1.23 IU/mL; P < 0.0005) compared with women in the lowest testosterone quartiles. Accordingly, women in the highest free androgen index (FAI) quartile had higher serum AGE levels (Q1, 5.36 ± 0.59 IU/mL; Q2, 5.28 ± 0.72 IU/mL vs Q4, 6.68 ± 1.48 IU/mL; P < 0.0005) compared with women in the lowest FAI quartile. These findings remained significant after adjustment for age, body mass index, HOMA-IR, and fasting glucose and fasting insulin levels. A highly significant correlation was found for testosterone and FAI with AGEs and persisted after adjustment for age, body mass index, HOMA-IR, and fasting glucose and fasting insulin levels (r = 0.67, P < 0.0005)
Conclusions: The data from the current study suggest that higher levels of AGEs are positively associated with higher androgen levels. This association, identified for the first time, may provide an additional insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms linking the described higher prevalence of cardiovascular events with higher androgen levels in postmenopausal women.