Socioeconomic deprivation as measured by the index of multiple deprivation and its association with low sex hormone binding globulin in women

Adrian Heald*, Ian Laing, David J. McLernon, Rachelle Donn, Andrew J. Hartland, Anthony A. Fryer, Mark Livingston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a marker of insulin resistance. Given established links between BMI and socioeconomic disadvantage, we investigated how SHBG varies by index of multiple deprivation (IMD). Research Design and Methods: Using laboratory data from a Midlands UK population of mixed ethnicity, we examined the relation between blood concentrations of SHBG and IMD in 1160 women aged between 17 and 71 years. Women with a serum SHBG >250 nmol/L were excluded. Results: Mean age was 28.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 28.2-29.1) years. 48.2% of women were of Caucasian origin, 15.5% of Southern Asian ethnicity and 2.6% were of African or other origin (33.7% were of unknown origin). SHBG increased with age (Spearman’s ρ=0.195; p<0.001). A higher proportion of women of South Asian origin versus other ethnic groups had an SHBG <30 nmol/L (OR 1.93 (95% CI 1.37-2.71)). SHBG level was lower in individuals with greater socioeconomic disadvantage as measured by IMD (Spearman's ρ=-0.09; p=0.004 for SHBG versus IMD). In multivariate logistic regression, IMD women in the quartiles 2-5 (higher socioeconomic disadvantage) were more likely to have an SHBG <30 nmol/L (compatible with significant insulin resistance) versus quartile 1 (odds ratio (OR) 1.71 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17-2.53), adjusted for age (OR=0.97 (95% CI 0.95-0.98)) and ethnicity (for South Asian ethnicity OR=2.00 (95% CI 1.42-2.81) versus the rest). Conclusion: Lower SHBG levels in women are associated with a higher level of socioeconomic disadvantage. Given the known association between lower SHBG and higher plasma glucose, our findings suggest a link between socioeconomic disadvantage and future risk of type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalOpen Biochemistry Journal
Early online date13 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

M.L., I.L. and A.H.H. participated in the study concept and design, acquisition of data, study analysis, interpretation of data, drafting of the manuscript. D.M. provided statistical expertise. R.D., A.J.H., and A.F. participated in the interpretation of data and critical revision of the manuscript.


  • BMI
  • Ethnicity
  • Index of multiple deprivation
  • Sex hormone binding globulin
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Women


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