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Obes Res. 1995 Nov;3 Suppl 4:609S-612S.

Testosterone and regional fat distribution.

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Department of Heart and Lung Diseases, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


The effects of testosterone treatment of abdominally obese men have been assessed by evaluating the following parameters: The metabolic activity of different adipose tissue regions in vivo (using lipid label as a tracer) and in vitro (measuring lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity), the total and visceral adipose tissue mass, insulin sensitivity, fasting blood glucose, blood lipids, and blood pressure as well as prostate volume. Middle-aged men with abdominal obesity were treated with transdermal administration of testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or placebo (P) during 9 months. The study was double-blind. Treatment with T was followed by an inhibited uptake of lipid label in adipose tissue triglycerides, a decreased LPL-activity and an increased turn-over rate of lipid label in the abdominal adipose tissue region in comparisons with the DHT and P groups. These effects on adipose tissue metabolism were not detected in the femoral adipose tissue region in any of the groups. T treatment was also followed by a specific decrease of visceral fat mass (measured by CT-scan), by increased insulin sensitivity (measured with the euglycemic glucose clamp), by a decrease in fasting blood glucose, plasma cholesterol and triglycerides as well as a decrease in diastolic blood pressure. In the DHT group an increased visceral mass was detected. No other changes in these variables were found in the DHT and P groups. There were no detectable changes in prostate volume (measured by ultra-sound), prostate specific antigen concentration, genito-urinary history or urinary flow measurements in any of the groups. It is suggested that T substitution to a selected group of men results in general metabolic and circulatory improvements. The prostate area needs further careful attention.

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