Low endogenous testosterone levels have been shown to be a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular benefits associated with testosterone replacement therapy are being advocated; however, the effects of endogenous testosterone levels on acute coronary vasomotor responses to androgen administration are not clear. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of acute androgen administration on in vivo coronary conductance and in vitro coronary microvascular diameter in intact and castrated male swine.
Pigs received intracoronary infusions of physiologic levels (1–100 nM) of testosterone, the metabolite 5α-dihydrotestosterone, and the epimer epitestosterone while left anterior descending coronary blood flow and mean arterial pressure were continuously monitored. Following sacrifice, coronary arterioles were isolated, cannulated, and exposed to physiologic concentrations (1–100 nM) of testosterone, 5α-dihydrotestosterone, and epitestosterone. To evaluate effects of the androgen receptor on acute androgen dilation responses, real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry for androgen receptor were performed on conduit and resistance coronary vessels.
In vivo, testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone produced greater increases in coronary conductance in the intact compared to the castrated males. In vitro, percent maximal dilation of microvessels was similar between intact and castrated males for testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone. In both studies epitestosterone produced significant increases in conductance and microvessel diameter from baseline in the intact males. Androgen receptor mRNA expression and immunohistochemical staining were similar in intact and castrated males.
Acute coronary vascular responses to exogenous androgen administration are increased by endogenous testosterone, an effect unrelated to changes in androgen receptor expression.
Keywords: Androgens, Coronary blood flow, Porcine, Vasomotor, Androgen receptor