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Endocr J. 2015;62(2):123-32. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.EJ14-0313. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Total testosterone is the most valuable indicator of metabolic syndrome among various testosterone values in middle-aged Japanese men.

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Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan.


Endogenous testosterone is known to be protective against metabolic syndrome (MetS) in men. While various markers of testosterone status including serum total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (measured using analogue ligand RIA [aFT]), calculated FT (cFT), calculated bioavailable testosterone (cbT), and sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) are recognized, it is unclear which of these markers are the most appropriate ones for the detection of MetS. We measured various testosterone values and metabolic markers in 249 healthy Japanese males (mean age 52.7 ± 7.4 yr) and analyzed which testosterone value is most associated with various metabolic parameters, including MetS as diagnosed according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF, 2009 version) or with the Japanese criteria. Age had no effect on the TT level but significantly decreased aFT, cFT, and cbT levels and significantly increased the SHBG level. All testosterone values and SHBG showed weak inverse relationships with the metabolic markers BMI, waist circumference, insulin, HOMA-R, and HOMA-β, with the strongest relationship being to TT. TT and SHBG were significantly lower in men with MetS than in men without MetS. All testosterone values gradually decreased as the number of MetS components increased. Multivariate analysis revealed that the TT median value of <4.0 ng/mL was the only significant marker for the detection of MetS. These results were essentially the same regardless of whether the diagnosis of MetS was based on the IDF or the Japanese criteria. In conclusion, among various testosterone values, TT is the most reliable indicator of MetS in middle-aged Japanese men.

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