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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Jan;85(1):60-5.

Effects of hypogonadism and testosterone administration on depression indices in HIV-infected men.

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Neuroendocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA.


Hypogonadism is prevalent among human immunodeficiency virus-infected men, in whom significantly reduced quality of life and mood disturbances have been reported. Previous studies have not investigated the relationship between depression score and gonadal function among such patients. We first compared depression scores in hypogonadal (n = 52) and eugonadal (n = 10) patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) wasting, matched for weight and disease status, and then investigated the effects of testosterone administration on depression score in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study among the group of hypogonadal men with AIDS wasting. The primary end point in all comparisons was the Beck Depression Inventory. Hypogonadal patients demonstrated significantly increased scores on the Beck inventory compared with eugonadal-, age-, weight-, and disease status-matched subjects (15.5+/-1.1 vs. 10.6+/-1.4 mean +/- SEM, P = 0.02). Among the combined hypogonadal and eugonadal subjects, a significant inverse correlation was seen between the Beck score and both free (r = 0.41, P<0.01) and total serum testosterone levels (r = -0.43, P<0.001). The relationship between the Beck score and testosterone levels remained highly significant, controlling for weight, viral load, CD4 count, and antidepressant use (P<0.01 for free testosterone, P<0.001 for total testosterone). Furthermore, when subjects were divided into two groups, based on a Beck score greater than 18 or less than or equal to 18, serum total and free testosterone levels were significantly lower in the subjects with a Beck score greater than 18, whereas there were no differences in weight, viral load, CD4 count, or Karnofsky status. End of study data were available in 39 patients who completed the randomized, placebo-controlled study. Beck score decreased significantly only in the subjects receiving testosterone (-5.8+/-1.3, P< 0.001), but not in subjects randomized to placebo (-2.7+/-1.3, P> 0.05). In a regression analysis, the change in Beck score was related significantly to change in weight (P<0.01). These data demonstrate increased depression score in association with hypogonadism in men with AIDS wasting, independent of weight, virologic status, and other disease factors. In such patients, administration of testosterone results in a significant improvement in depression inventory score. This effect may be a direct effect of testosterone or related to positive effects of testosterone on weight and/or other anthropometric indices. Additional studies are needed to assess the effects of testosterone on clinical depression indices in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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