A glycoprotein, synthesized in the liver, which binds testosterone and 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone strongly, and estradiol somewhat less strongly. Circulating testosterone is mainly bound to protein – primarily SHBG, but also to albumin and cortisol-binding globulin. Since variations in the carrier protein levels may affect the concentration of testosterone in circulation, SHBG levels are commonly measured as a supplement to total testosterone determinations. The "free androgen index" (FAI), calculated as the ratio of total testosterone to SHBG, has proved to be a useful indicator of abnormal androgen status in conditions such as hirsutism.
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