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J Endocrinol. 1999 Jul;162(1):137-42.

Evidence that the CAG repeat in the androgen receptor gene is associated with the age-related decline in serum androgen levels in men.

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The Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, 44 Binney Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


In men over 30 years old, serum levels of testosterone (T) decrease with age. A shorter polymorphic CAG repeat length in exon 1 of the androgen receptor (AR) gene is associated with higher transcription activation by the AR. We determined the number of CAG repeats for 882 men aged between 40 and 70 years from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS). MMAS is a population-based random sample survey of men for whom baseline (1987-1989, mean age 53+/-8 years) and follow-up (1995-1997, mean age 61+/-8 years) serum hormone levels were available. Multiple linear regression was used to determine if CAG repeat length would be predictive of hormone levels at follow-up. Hormone levels measured included T, free T, albumin-bound T, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The CAG repeat length was significantly associated with T (P=0.041), albumin-bound T (P=0.025) and free T (P=0.003) when controlled for age, baseline hormone levels and anthropometrics. Follow-up levels of T decreased by 0.74%+/-0.36 per CAG repeat decrement. Likewise, the percentages of free and albumin-bound T decreased by 0.93%+/-0.31 and 0.71%+/-0.32 per CAG repeat decrement respectively. These results suggest that androgen levels may be modulated by AR genotype.

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