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Concept: Testosterone

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Background Serum testosterone concentrations decrease as men age, but benefits of raising testosterone levels in older men have not been established. Methods We assigned 790 men 65 years of age or older with a serum testosterone concentration of less than 275 ng per deciliter and symptoms suggesting hypoandrogenism to receive either testosterone gel or placebo gel for 1 year. Each man participated in one or more of three trials - the Sexual Function Trial, the Physical Function Trial, and the Vitality Trial. The primary outcome of each of the individual trials was also evaluated in all participants. Results Testosterone treatment increased serum testosterone levels to the mid-normal range for men 19 to 40 years of age. The increase in testosterone levels was associated with significantly increased sexual activity, as assessed by the Psychosexual Daily Questionnaire (P<0.001), as well as significantly increased sexual desire and erectile function. The percentage of men who had an increase of at least 50 m in the 6-minute walking distance did not differ significantly between the two study groups in the Physical Function Trial but did differ significantly when men in all three trials were included (20.5% of men who received testosterone vs. 12.6% of men who received placebo, P=0.003). Testosterone had no significant benefit with respect to vitality, as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue scale, but men who received testosterone reported slightly better mood and lower severity of depressive symptoms than those who received placebo. The rates of adverse events were similar in the two groups. Conclusions In symptomatic men 65 years of age or older, raising testosterone concentrations for 1 year from moderately low to the mid-normal range for men 19 to 40 years of age had a moderate benefit with respect to sexual function and some benefit with respect to mood and depressive symptoms but no benefit with respect to vitality or walking distance. The number of participants was too few to draw conclusions about the risks of testosterone treatment. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00799617 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Concentration, ClinicalTrials.gov, Testosterone, Human sexual behavior, Erectile dysfunction, Psychosexual development, Libido

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Concern has been raised over increased male reproductive disorders in the Western world, and the disruption of male endocrinology has been suggested to play a central role. Several studies have shown that mild analgesics exposure during fetal life is associated with antiandrogenic effects and congenital malformations, but the effects on the adult man remain largely unknown. Through a clinical trial with young men exposed to ibuprofen, we show that the analgesic resulted in the clinical condition named “compensated hypogonadism,” a condition prevalent among elderly men and associated with reproductive and physical disorders. In the men, luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased. Using adult testis explants exposed or not exposed to ibuprofen, we demonstrate that the endocrine capabilities from testicular Leydig and Sertoli cells, including testosterone production, were suppressed through transcriptional repression. This effect was also observed in a human steroidogenic cell line. Our data demonstrate that ibuprofen alters the endocrine system via selective transcriptional repression in the human testes, thereby inducing compensated hypogonadism.

Concepts: Endocrinology, Luteinizing hormone, Testosterone, Testicle, Sertoli cell, Puberty, Endocrine system, Ovary

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Background Apalutamide, a competitive inhibitor of the androgen receptor, is under development for the treatment of prostate cancer. We evaluated the efficacy of apalutamide in men with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who were at high risk for the development of metastasis. Methods We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial involving men with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and a prostate-specific antigen doubling time of 10 months or less. Patients were randomly assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to receive apalutamide (240 mg per day) or placebo. All the patients continued to receive androgen-deprivation therapy. The primary end point was metastasis-free survival, which was defined as the time from randomization to the first detection of distant metastasis on imaging or death. Results A total of 1207 men underwent randomization (806 to the apalutamide group and 401 to the placebo group). In the planned primary analysis, which was performed after 378 events had occurred, median metastasis-free survival was 40.5 months in the apalutamide group as compared with 16.2 months in the placebo group (hazard ratio for metastasis or death, 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23 to 0.35; P<0.001). Time to symptomatic progression was significantly longer with apalutamide than with placebo (hazard ratio, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.63; P<0.001). The rate of adverse events leading to discontinuation of the trial regimen was 10.6% in the apalutamide group and 7.0% in the placebo group. The following adverse events occurred at a higher rate with apalutamide than with placebo: rash (23.8% vs. 5.5%), hypothyroidism (8.1% vs. 2.0%), and fracture (11.7% vs. 6.5%). Conclusions Among men with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, metastasis-free survival and time to symptomatic progression were significantly longer with apalutamide than with placebo. (Funded by Janssen Research and Development; SPARTAN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01946204 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cancer, Metastasis, Prostate cancer, Testosterone, Androgen, Placebo, Prostate-specific antigen

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The calcium channel of sperm (CatSper) is essential for sperm hyperactivated motility and fertility. The steroid hormone progesterone activates CatSper of human sperm via binding to the serine hydrolase ABHD2. However, steroid specificity of ABHD2 has not been evaluated. Here, we explored whether steroid hormones to which human spermatozoa are exposed in the male and female genital tract influence CatSper activation via modulation of ABHD2. The results show that testosterone, estrogen, and hydrocortisone did not alter basal CatSper currents, whereas the neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate exerted similar effects as progesterone, likely binding to the same site. However, physiological concentrations of testosterone and hydrocortisone inhibited CatSper activation by progesterone. Additionally, testosterone antagonized the effect of pregnenolone sulfate. We have also explored whether steroid-like molecules, such as the plant triterpenoids pristimerin and lupeol, affect sperm fertility. Interestingly, both compounds competed with progesterone and pregnenolone sulfate and significantly reduced CatSper activation by either steroid. Furthermore, pristimerin and lupeol considerably diminished hyperactivation of capacitated spermatozoa. These results indicate that (i) pregnenolone sulfate together with progesterone are the main steroids that activate CatSper and (ii) pristimerin and lupeol can act as contraceptive compounds by averting sperm hyperactivation, thus preventing fertilization.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Sperm, Estrogen, Testosterone, Spermatozoon, Progesterone, Steroid, Pregnenolone

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BACKGROUND: Studies of prenatal exposure to sex steroid hormones predict autistic traits in children at 18 to 24 and at 96 months of age. However, it is not known whether postnatal exposure to these hormones has a similar effect. This study compares prenatal and postnatal sex steroid hormone levels in relation to autistic traits in 18 to 24-month-old children.Fetal testosterone (fT) and fetal estradiol (fE) levels were measured in amniotic fluid from pregnant women (n = 35) following routine second-trimester amniocentesis. Saliva samples were collected from these children when they reached three to four months of age and were analyzed for postnatal testosterone (pT) levels. Mothers were asked to complete the Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Q-CHAT), a measure of autistic traits in children 18 to 24 months old.Finding: fT (but not pT) levels were positively associated with scores on the Q-CHAT. fE and pT levels showed no sex differences and no relationships with fT levels. fT levels were the only variable that predicted Q-CHAT scores. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary findings are consistent with the hypothesis that prenatal (but not postnatal) androgen exposure, coinciding with the critical period for sexual differentiation of the brain, is associated with the development of autistic traits in 18 to 24 month old toddlers. However, it is recognized that further work with a larger sample population is needed before the effects of postnatal androgen exposure on autistic traits can be ruled out. These results are also in line with the fetal androgen theory of autism, which suggests that prenatal, organizational effects of androgen hormones influence the development of autistic traits in later life.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Hormone, Estrogen, Testosterone, Glucocorticoid, Steroid, Amniotic fluid, Steroid hormone

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Testosterone is essential for the regulation of erectile physiology, but the relationship between low testosterone and erectile dysfunction (ED) has not been firmly established.

Concepts: Cross-sectional study, Testosterone, Erectile dysfunction, Hypogonadism

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Cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme (CYP11A1) catalyses the first and rate-limiting step of steroidogenesis, the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone. CYP11A1 deficiency is commonly associated with adrenal insufficiency, and in 46,XY individuals, with variable degrees of disorder of sex development (DSD).

Concepts: Testosterone, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, CYP17A1

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Reduced libido is widely considered the most prominent symptomatic reflection of low testosterone (T) levels in men. Testosterone deficiency (TD) afflicts approximately 30% of men aged 40-79 years. This study seeks to evaluate the effect of a new natural compound “tradamixina "in order to improve male sexual function in elderly men, particularly libido and possible erectile dysfunction, versus administration of tadalafil 5 mg daily.

Concepts: Sociology, Testosterone, Group, Ageing, Erectile dysfunction, Hypogonadism, Sexual function, Sexual dysfunction

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Aim: To determine the effect of a 12-month intent-to-treat tesosterone replacement therapy (TRT) trial on QTa interval variability (QTaVI) in hypogonadal (HG) men with spinal cord injury (SCI). Method: A prospective, controlled, 12-month TRT trial was completed in twenty-two healthy, chronic, non-ambulatory men with SCI. Based on serum T concentration, subjects were designated as HG (≤11.3 nmol/l) or eugonadal (EG, ≥11.4 nmol/l). Digital 3-lead electrocardiograms were performed. Heart rate (RR), heart rate variability [(HRV), including total power (TP(RR)), low frequency (LF(RR)) and high freguency (HF(RR))], QTa, QTe, and RT intervals, QTC (Bazett), QTVN, and QTaVI were calculated and evaluated at baseline and 12 months. Lipoprotein profiles (triglycerides, total cholesterol, low density and high-density lipoproteins) were obtained at the respective time points. Results: Based on serum T concentration, 13 subjects were designated as HG and 11 EG. During the trial, there were no group differences for RR, QTa, QTe or RT intervals, QTC, TP(RR), HF(RR), or lipoproteins. The HG was older (p < 0.05) and LF(RR) was lower (p < 0.05) at baseline. At baseline, QTaVI was significantly greater in HG compared to EG [-0.17 (0.92) vs. -1.07 (0.90); p < 0.05]. After TRT, this group difference was no longer present [-0.44 (0.87) vs. -0.65 (0.85)] and the change in HG was significant (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Hypogonadism in men with SCI was associated with elevated QTaVI at baseline. After 12 months of physiological TRT, the QTaVI improved in association with raising T into the normal range. These findings occurred independently from the prolongation of the QT interval.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Cardiology, Lipoprotein, Lipoproteins, Cardiac electrophysiology, Testosterone, QT interval, Hypogonadism

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Astragalus membranaceus (AM) is a Chinese traditional herb which has been reported to have broad positive effects on many diseases, including hepatitis, heart disease, diabetes and skin disease. AM can promote cell proliferation, increase the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and inhibit apoptosis by regulating the transcription of proto-oncogenes controlling cell death. While AM is included in some commercially available “testosterone boosting supplements”, studies directly testing ability of AM to modulate testosterone production are lacking. In the present study, we examined the effects of AM on Leydig cell function in vitro.

Concepts: Cancer, Death, Luteinizing hormone, Superoxide dismutase, Testosterone, Sertoli cell, Puberty, Leydig cell