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J Endocrinol Invest. 2012 Jan;35(1):104-20. doi: 10.3275/8061. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Relationship between testosterone deficiency and cardiovascular risk and mortality in adult men.

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


Classic male hypogonadism is associated with known adverse effects including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, and changes in body composition. Recently, we have come to appreciate that reduction in serum testosterone (T) levels resulting from aging or chronic disease or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) have consequences similar to those seen in classic male hypogonadism which include increased fat mass, decreased lean body mass, decreased muscle strength, and sexual dysfunction. These data suggest that low T levels may represent a newly recognized cardiometabolic risk factor. Therefore, we carried out a careful review of the literature, focusing on major turning points of research and studies which gave more important and controversial contribution to the cardiovascular role of T. Observational studies and clinical trials investigating the relationship between T levels and cardiovascular disease and mortality were identified byMedline search. The results were synthesized, tabulated, and interpreted. The aim of this review is to discuss the association between low T levels and adverse metabolic profile such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. We will also investigate the potential mechanisms by which male hypogonadism, especially age related or induced by ADT, may increase cardio-metabolic risk. Finally we will detail the emerging relationship between low T and mortality in men addressing also the reverse hypothesis that low T has a protective role by turning off T-dependent functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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