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Concept: Testosterone

622

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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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

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Twenty-four-month-old male C57BL/6 mice with low serum testosterone levels were used as a late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) animal model for examining the effects of velvet antler polypeptide (VAP) on sexual function and testosterone synthesis. These mice received VAP for 5 consecutive weeks by daily gavage at doses of 100, 200, or 300 mg kg-1 body weight per day (n = 10 mice per dose). Control animals (n = 10) received the same weight-based volume of vehicle. Sexual behavior and testosterone levels in serum and interstitial tissue of testis were measured after the last administration of VAP. Furthermore, to investigate the mechanisms of how VAP affects sexual behavior and testosterone synthesis in vivo, the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cytochrome P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) in Leydig cells was also measured by immunofluorescence staining and quantitative real-time PCR. As a result, VAP produced a significant improvement in the sexual function of these aging male mice. Serum testosterone level and intratesticular testosterone (ITT) concentration also increased in the VAP-treated groups. The expression of StAR, P450scc, and 3β-HSD was also found to be enhanced in the VAP-treated groups compared with the control group. Our results suggested that VAP was effective in improving sexual function in aging male mice. The effect of velvet antler on sexual function was due to the increased expression of several rate-limiting enzymes of testosterone synthesis (StAR, P450scc, and 3β-HSD) and the following promotion of testosterone synthesis in vivo.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Enzyme, Testosterone, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, Puberty, Cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein

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Elevated estradiol levels are correlated with male infertility. Causes of hyperestrogenism include diseases of the adrenal cortex, testis or medications affecting the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis. The aim of our study was to elucidate the effects of estradiol treatment on testicular cellular morphology and function, with reference to the treatment regimen received. Testes samples (n = 9) were obtained post-orchiectomy from male-to-female transsexuals within the age range of 26-52 years. Each patient had a minimum of 1-6 years estradiol treatment. For comparison, additional samples were obtained from microscopically unaltered testicular tissue surrounding tumors (n = 7). The tissues obtained were investigated by stereomicroscopy, histochemistry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and immunohistochemistry. Our studies revealed that estradiol treatment significantly decreased the diameter of the seminiferous tubules (p < 0.05) and induced fatty degeneration in the surrounding connective tissue. An increase in collagen fiber synthesis in the extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding the seminiferous tubules was also induced. Spermatogenesis was impaired resulting in mainly spermatogonia being present. Sertoli cells revealed diminished expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα). Both Sertoli and Leydig cells showed morphological alterations and glycoprotein accumulations. These results demonstrate that increased estradiol levels drastically impact the human testis.

Concepts: Testosterone, Testicle, Estradiol, Sertoli cell, Scanning electron microscope, Puberty, Male reproductive system, Leydig cell