Jean M. Kaufman and Alex Vermeulen
Department of Endocrinology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent B-9000, Belgium
Correspondence: Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Prof. Dr. Jean M Kaufman, Department of Endocrinology 9K12, De Pintelaan 185, Ghent, B-9000, Belgium. E-mail: email@example.com
Aging in men is accompanied by a progressive, but individually variable decline of serum testosterone production, more than 20% of healthy men over 60 yr of age presenting with serum levels below the range for young men. Albeit the clinical picture of aging in men is reminiscent of that of hypogonadism in young men and decreased testosterone production appears to play a role in part of these clinical changes in at least some elderly men, the clinical relevancy of the age-related decline in sex steroid levels in men has not been unequivocally established. In fact, minimal androgen requirements for elderly men remain poorly defined and are likely to vary between individuals. Consequently, borderline androgen deficiency cannot be reliably diagnosed in the elderly, and strict differentiation between “substitutive” and “pharmacological” androgen administration is not possible. To date, only a few hundred elderly men have received androgen therapy in the setting of a randomized, controlled study, and many of these men were not androgen deficient. Most consistent effects of treatment have been on body composition, but to date there is no evidence-based documentation of clinical benefits of androgen administration to elderly men with normal or moderately low serum testosterone in terms of diminished morbidity or of improved survival or quality of life. Until the long-term risk-benefit ratio for androgen administration to elderly is established in adequately powered trials of longer duration, androgen administration to elderly men should be reserved for the minority of elderly men who have both clear clinical symptoms of hypogonadism and frankly low serum testosterone levels.
The Effect of Testosterone Replacement on Endogenous Inflammatory Cytokines and Lipid Profiles in Hypogonadal Men
Chris J. Malkin, Peter J. Pugh, Richard D. Jones, Dheeraj Kapoor, Kevin S. Channer and T. Hugh Jones
Department of Cardiology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital (C.J.M., P.J.P., K.S.C.), Sheffield, United Kingdom S10 2JF; Academic Unit of Endocrinology, Division of Genomic Medicine, University of Sheffield (R.D.J., D.K., T.H.J.), Sheffield, United Kingdom S10 2RX; and Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Barnsley District General Hospital (D.K., T.H.J.), Barnsley, United Kingdom S75 2EP
Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Dr. Chris J. Malkin, Cardiology Department, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, United Kingdom S10 2JF. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Testosterone has immune-modulating properties, and current in vitro evidence suggests that testosterone may suppress the expression of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF , IL-1ß, and IL-6 and potentiate the expression of the antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10. We report a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of testosterone replacement (Sustanon 100) vs. placebo in 27 men (age, 62 ± 9 yr) with symptomatic androgen deficiency (total testosterone, 4.4 ± 1.2 nmol/liter; bioavailable testosterone, 2.4 ± 1.1 nmol/liter). Compared with placebo, testosterone induced reductions in TNF (–3.1 ± 8.3 vs. 1.3 ± 5.2 pg/ml; P = 0.01) and IL-1ß (–0.14 ± 0.32 vs. 0.18 ± 0.55 pg/ml; P = 0.08) and an increase in IL-10 (0.33 ± 1.8 vs. –1.1 ± 3.0 pg/ml; P = 0.01); the reductions of TNF and IL-1ß were positively correlated (rS = 0.588; P = 0.003). In addition, a significant reduction in total cholesterol was recorded with testosterone therapy (–0.25 ± 0.4 vs. –0.004 ± 0.4 mmol/liter; P = 0.04). In conclusion, testosterone replacement shifts the cytokine balance to a state of reduced inflammation and lowers total cholesterol. Twenty of these men had established coronary disease, and because total cholesterol is a cardiovascular risk factor, and proinflammatory cytokines mediate the development and complications associated with atheromatous plaque, these properties may have particular relevance in men with overt vascular disease.
This work was supported by the Central Sheffield University Hospitals Pilot Research Fund.