Even though the levels of circulating sex steroid hormones are to a large extent heritable, their genetic determinants are largely unknown. With the advent of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), much progress has been made and several genetic loci have been identified to be associated with serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin. The variants identified so far only explain a small amount of the overall heritability, but may help to elucidate the role of sex steroid hormones in common disorders such as hypogonadism, type 2 diabetes and hormone-sensitive cancers. This review provides an overview of the current state of knowledge of the genetic determinants of sex steroid hormones, with a focus on recent GWAS and brief directions for elucidating the remaining heritability.
Keywords: Dehydroepiandrosterone; Estradiol; Genome-wide association studies; Hypogonadism; Sex hormone-binding globulin; Testosterone.
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