Endogenous sex hormones and cholesterol gallstones: A case-control study in an echographic survey of gallstones

F. Russo, A. Cavallini, C. Messa, V. Mangini, V. Guerra, G. D'Amato, G. Misciagna, A. Di Leo

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In a population survey of gallstones, the serum levels of hormones of the pituitary-gonadal axis and the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were compared in subjects with cholesterol gallstones and in a control group. In 84 subjects who entered the survey, echographic gallstones that had been identified at the survey, turned out to be radiolucent or mixed (predominantly of cholesterol) at subsequent x-ray. The controls were without gallstones at echography, matched to the cases for potential confounders of the association sex hormones-cholelithiasis. Testosterone (T) 17-β-estradiol (E2), 17-OH progesterone (P), and SHBG were dosed by radioimmunoassay; follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and prolactin (Prl) by dissociation-enhanced lanthanide fluoro immunoassay (DELFIA). Men with gallstones had lower LH than controls (n = 34, median difference = - 0.62 mU/ml, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.20 to -0.26 mU/ml, paired sign test, p = 0.003). Premenopausal women in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle with gallstones had higher E2 than controls (n = 7, median difference: +117, pg/ml, 95% CI: +10 to +218 pg/ml, p = 0.008). Postmenopausal women had lower LH than controls (n = 35, median difference = -4.57 mU/ml, 95% CI -9.5 to -1.0 mU/ml, p = 0.04). No other hormones showed statistically significant differences between cases and controls, in either males or females. The findings of this exploratory study in subjects with radiolucent and mixed gallstones suggest that men and postmenopausal women have lower LH, and premenopausal women in the luteal phase of the cycle have higher E2, than controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-717
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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