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Aging Male. 2011 Mar;14(1):42-7. doi: 10.3109/13685538.2010.518179. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Gonadal status and physical performance in older men.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Section of Geriatrics, University of Parma, Italy.



To test the relationship between gonadal status and objective measures and determinants of physical performance in older men and their determinants.


The study included 455 ≥ 65 year older men of InCHIANTI study, Italy, with complete data on testosterone levels, hand grip strength, cross-sectional muscle area (CSMA), short physical performance battery (SPPB). Linear models were used to test the relationship between gonadal status and determinants of physical performance.


Three different groups of older men were created: (1) severely hypogonadal (N=23), total testosterone levels ≤ 230 ng /dl; (2) moderately hypogonadal (N=88), total testosterone >230 and < 350 ng/dl) and (3) eugonadal (N=344), testosterone levels ≥ 350 ng/dl. With increased severity of hypogonadal status, participants were significantly older while their BMI was substantially similar. In the age and BMI adjusted analysis, there was a significant difference in haemoglobin levels, hand grip strength and SPPB score (p for trend < 0.001) among three groups, with severely hypogonadal men having lower values of haemoglobin, muscle strength and physical performance. We found no association between testosterone group assignment and calf muscle mass and 4 m walking speed. In the multivariate analysis grip strength (p for trend = 0.004) and haemoglobin (p for trend < 0.0001) but not SPPB and other determinants of physical performance were significantly different between the three groups.


In older men, gonadal status is independently associated with some determinants (haemoglobin and muscle strength) of physical performance.

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