Urinary sex steroid and glucocorticoid hormones are associated with muscle mass and strength in healthy adults.

TitreUrinary sex steroid and glucocorticoid hormones are associated with muscle mass and strength in healthy adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBochud, M, Ponte, B, Pruijm, M, Ackermann, D, Guessous, I, Ehret, G, Escher, G, Groessl, M, Younes, SEstoppey, d'Uscio, CH, Burnier, M, Martin, P-Y, Pechère-Bertschi, A, Vogt, B, Dhayat, NA
JournalThe Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Date Published06/2019

Context: Sex steroid hormones exhibit anabolic effects whereas a deficiency engenders sarcopenia. Moreover, supra-physiological levels of glucocorticoids promote skeletal muscle atrophy, while physiologic levels of glucocorticoids may improve muscle performance.

Objective: To study the relationship between both groups of steroid hormones at a physiological range with skeletal muscle mass and function in the general population.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of the associations between urinary excreted androgens, estrogens, glucocorticoids and steroid hormone metabolite ratios with lean mass and handgrip strength in a population-based cohort.

Setting: Three centers in Switzerland including 1128 participants.

Measures: Urinary steroid hormone metabolite excretion by GC-MS, lean mass by bioimpedance analysis and isometric handgrip strength by dynamometry.

Results: For lean mass a strong positive association was found with 11β-OH-androsterone and with most glucocorticoids. Androsterone showed a positive association in middle-aged and older adults. Estriol showed a positive association only in men. For handgrip strength strong positive associations with androgens were found in middle-aged and older adults, whereas positive associations were found with cortisol metabolites in young to middle-aged adults.

Conclusions: Sex steroid and glucocorticoids are strongly positively associated with skeletal muscle mass and strength in the upper limbs. The associations with muscle strength appear to be independent of muscle mass. Steroid hormones exert age-specific anabolic effects on lean mass and handgrip strength: Deficits in physical performance of aged muscles may be attenuated by androgens, whereas glucocorticoids in a physiological range increase skeletal muscle mass at all ages, and muscle strength in particular in younger adults.

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First publication date (online)




Alternate JournalJ. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab.
Citation Key / SERVAL ID9374
Peer reviewRefereed
PubMed ID30690465


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