Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), or Testosterone-estradiol Binding Globulin (TeBG), is a dimeric plasma glycoprotein with high affinity for the gonadal steroids, testosterone and estradiol. SHBG enhances the exchange of these steroids in central tissues. Because only free steroids can act biologically, it is often necessary to account for SHBG-bound steroids. Estrogens have the effect of increasing SHBG serum concentrations and androgens decrease the serum concentrations of SHBG. This phenomenon is helpful in studying sex- and age-related biological changes.
Other conditions in which SHBG serum levels are monitored are hypergonadism in men and hyperandrogeny in women. In addition, decreases in serum SHBG are seen in thyroid insufficiency, while increased levels are noted in thyrotoxicosis.
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