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Am J Hum Biol. 2010 Mar-Apr;22(2):216-20. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21012.

Circadian variation in salivary testosterone across age classes in Ache Amerindian males of Paraguay.

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Reproductive Ecology Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


Testosterone levels exhibit a circadian rhythm in healthy men, with morning levels tending to be higher compared to evening titers. However, circadian rhythms wane with age. Although this has been described in males living within industrialized settings, age-related changes have not received similar attention in populations outside these contexts. Because many nonindustrialized populations, such as Ache Amerindians of Paraguay, exhibit testosterone levels that are lower than what is commonly reported in the clinical literature and lack age-associated variation in testosterone, it was hypothesized that Ache men would not show age-related variation in testosterone circadian rhythms. Diurnal rhythmicity in testosterone within and between Ache men in association with age (n = 52; age range, 18-64) was therefore examined. A significant negative association was evident between the ratio of morning and evening salivary testosterone and age (r = -0.28, P = 0.04). Men in their third decade of life exhibited significant diurnal variation (P = 0.0003), whereas older and younger age classes did not. Men between the ages of 30 and 39 also exhibited a higher AM:PM testosterone ratio compared to 40-49 and 50< year old men (P = 0.002, 0.006). Overall, declines in testosterone with aging may not be universal among human males, however, within-individual analyses of diurnal variation capture age-related contrasts in daily testosterone fluctuations. Circadian rhythmicity differs with age among the Ache and may be a common aspect of reproductive senescence among men regardless of ecological context.

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