Objective: An on-going epidemiological populational study examined hormone balance during aging in women, and whether there was a difference in endogenous serum sex hormone levels between a postmenopausal women group with moderately cognitive impairment and healthy age-mached women group.
Subjects and methods: One hundred and sixty-three women aged 25 to 80 years were classified into three groups: (1) 44 subjects aged 5580 years with moderately cognitive impairment (MMSE<28); (2) 73 age-matched subjects without cognitive impairment (MMSE>28); (3-control) 44 healthy subjects under 44 years. Total morning levels of serum 17-OHP, DHEA, DHEAS, androstendion, estradiol, estrone, progesterone, testosterone, free testosterone, DHT, SHBG, inhibin A and inhibin B, LH, FSH, Prl, TSH, GH, IGF1, insulin, cortisol and thyroid hormones were measured.
Results: There was a marked decline of sex steroid metabolism associated with an increase of gonadotropins in postmenopausal women. All androgens and estrogens were significantly decreased (P<0.001) with no significant change in SHBG levels; gonadotropins (LH, FSH) were significantly increased (P<0.001). Also, metabolic balance was significantly altered. The endocrine changes were associated with a cognitive decline (P=0.01); serum cortisol levels and thyroid hormones showed a minimal overall change in basal levels with aging. In postmenopausal women with moderately cognitive impairment there was a decrease of serum thyroxine level (P=0.006) but no significant differences in estrogens and androgens levels compared to age-matched group; however, there was a higher rate in their decline.
Conclusions: Endocrine deficiencies in postmenopausal women include a decrease in the peripheral levels of estrogens and androgens with an increase in LH, FSH associated with a cognitive decline. The moderately cognitive impairment did not significantly affect mean both sex steroid and gonadotropin levels. Finally, our results emphasize the complexities of hormone action, particularly related to estrogens and androgens associated with a cognitive decline during the menopausal and postmenopausal years.
03 - 07 May 2008
European Society of Endocrinology