It is well known the existence of a T duality between the two heterotic string theories, $SO(32) \sim_T E_8 \times E_8$. Beyond the trivial point that both groups have the same dimension (496, which actually is a prerequisite), is there some other mathematical relation between them?

I am thinking in other SO(N) groups whose dimension is a perfect number and that happen to be related to products of manifolds. $SO(4)$ with $SU(2) \times SU(2)$, and -I am told- $SO(8)$ with some variant of $(S^7 \times S^7) \times G_2$. It should be nice if all of these were justified by a common construction, but I am happy just with an answer to the $SO(32)$ case.