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Little is known about the relationship between blood pressure and endogenous sex steroid hormones in patients with essential hypertension. Studies in hypertensive men have described decreased androgens. Men with cardiovascular disease may have estrogen levels which are increased or similar to healthy controls. We measured selected sex steroid hormones in 24 medication-free patients with uncomplicated essential hypertension (diastolic blood pressure ≤90mmHg) and 24 normotensive subjects. The groups were equally divided by race, gender, age and weight. Hypertensive men had lower levels of both free and total testosterone and androstenedione than controls. The converse was true for hypertensive women. Androgen levels were similar in blacks and whites regardless of gender or blood pressure. Estradiol levels were higher in hypertensive men and women than controls and in blacks than whites. Levels of luteinizing hormone and sex hormone binding globulin were similar in all subjects. The clinical and pathophysiological significance of our findings merits further investigation.