We evaluated the reproducibility of plasma hormone levels over time in 79 healthy postmenopausal women, ages 51-69 years at baseline, who were not using postmenopausal hormones. Three blood samples were collected between 1989 and 1992 from each of these women. We assessed plasma levels of estradiol, free estradiol, percentage of free estradiol, bioavailable estradiol, percentage of bioavailable estradiol, estrone, estrone sulfate, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), androstenedione, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and prolactin at each of three sample collections. The means and SD for each of the plasma estrogens, SHBG, and prolactin were similar at each collection. For the androgens, plasma levels tended to decrease over time consistent with an aging effect; decreases with increasing age were statistically significant for androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) ranged from 0.92 (95% confidence interval = 0.89-0.95) for SHBG to 0.53 (95% confidence interval = 0.43-0.69) for prolactin. Most correlations were at least 0.70. The ICCs did not vary by age or time since menopause. Women who changed weight over the course of the study tended to have lower ICCs for a number of the hormones, although these differences were not statistically significant. These data indicate that, for most of these plasma hormones, a single measurement can reliably categorize average levels over at least a 3-year period in postmenopausal women.

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