Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
Renal Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Cirrhosis is associated with hormonal dysregulation, as evidenced by secondary amenorrhoea in reproductive-aged women, and feminization of cirrhotic men. Whether hormone levels vary by severity of cirrhosis in women is not known. If identified, such changes may have important clinical relevance, particularly, as low sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) are known to promote metabolic and cardiovascular disease in women. In a cohort of post-menopausal women with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, we compared comprehensive sex hormone levels by presence of cirrhosis, as well as across Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) class. Results: There were n = 18 cirrhotic and n = 21 noncirrhotic women with a median age of 57 years (interquartile range [IQR] 53-62). Compared to noncirrhotics, cirrhotic women had higher oestradiol (11.0 vs 6.0 pg/mL, P = 0.05) and oestrone levels (32.0 vs 8.0 ng/mL, P < 0.001), and lower sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) (69.2 vs 155.6 nmol/L, P = 0.001), and FSH levels (4.9 vs 89.6 mIU/mL, P < 0.001). Among cirrhotic women, there was a progressive decline in FSH and SHBG and concurrent rise in oestrone levels from CTP class A to C (test of trend, P values ≤0.02). Cirrhosis is associated with lower FSH and SHBG levels in cirrhotic compared to noncirrhotic women with HCV infection. In cirrhotic women, these levels demonstrate steady decline by disease severity. Given known associations of low SHBG and FSH with cardio-metabolic disease, the clinical implications of hormonal changes by cirrhosis severity in HCV-infected women warrants investigation.