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Eur J Heart Fail. 2007 Jan;9(1):44-50. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

The effect of testosterone on insulin sensitivity in men with heart failure.

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Department of Cardiology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, S10 2JF, United Kingdom.


Resistance to insulin occurs in chronic heart failure (CHF) and is related to prognosis. Studies of testosterone in non-(CHF) males suggest that physiological testosterone therapy improves insulin sensitivity. This was a single-blind placebo controlled crossover trial to determine the effect of testosterone replacement on insulin sensitivity in 13 men with moderate to severe CHF (ejection fraction 30.5+/-1.3). The primary outcome was the homeostatic model index (HOMA-IR) of fasting insulin sensitivity and secondary outcomes were body composition as measured by bioelectrical impedance and glucose tolerance to a standard 75 g oral glucose load. Analysis was performed on the delta values with the treatment effect of placebo compared with that of testosterone. At baseline HOMA-IR correlated with measures of body fat [% fat mass (rP=0.84, p=0.0001) and body mass index (rP=0.79, p=0.01)] but not with CHF severity. Testosterone reduced HOMA-IR (-1.9+/-0.8, p=0.03) indicating improved fasting insulin sensitivity. Testosterone also increased total mass (+1.5+/-0.5 kg, p=0.008) and decreased body fat (-0.8+/-0.3%, p=0.02). Testosterone improves fasting insulin sensitivity in men with CHF and may also increase lean body mass, these data suggest a favourable effect of testosterone on an important metabolic component of CHF.

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