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1.  Renal clearance and daily excretion of cortisol and adrenal androgens in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(8):961-968.
Background: In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), patients demonstrate low levels of adrenal hormones.
Objective: To investigate whether increased renal clearance and daily excretion contribute to this phenomenon.
Methods: Thirty patients with RA, 32 with SLE, and 54 healthy subjects (HS) participated. Serum and urinary levels of cortisol, cortisone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP), androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) were measured.
Results: Clearance of DHEAS and DHEA was lower in patients than in HS, and clearance of androstenedione was somewhat higher in patients than in HS, but daily excretion of this latter hormone was low. Clearance of cortisol, cortisone, and 17OHP was similar between the groups. The total molar amount per hour of excreted DHEA, DHEAS, and androstenedione was lower in patients than HS (but similar for cortisol). Serum DHEAS levels correlated with urinary DHEAS levels in HS and patients, whereby HS excreted 5–10 times more of this hormone than excreted by patients. Low serum levels of adrenal androgens and cortisol in patients as compared with HS were confirmed, and proteinuria was not associated with changes of measured renal parameters.
Conclusions: This study in patients with RA and SLE demonstrates that low serum levels of adrenal androgens and cortisol are not due to increased renal clearance and daily loss of these hormones. Decreased adrenal production or increased conversion or conjugation to downstream hormones are the most likely causes of inadequately low serum levels of adrenal hormones in RA and SLE.
PMCID: PMC1755103  PMID: 15249323
2.  Low DHEAS levels are associated with depressive symptoms in elderly Chinese men: results from a large study 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2011;13(6):898-902.
This study investigated the association between depressive symptoms in elderly Chinese men and the total testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulphate (DHEAS), oestradiol and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels, and the free androgen index. Cross-sectional data from 1147 community-dwelling elderly men, aged 65 and older, were used. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Chinese Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Total testosterone, free testosterone, DHEA, DHEAS, total oestradiol, the free androgen index and SHBG levels were assessed. DHEA was significantly associated with GDS score, and there was a trend towards DHEAS association, but this was not significant (β=−0.110, P=0.015; β=−0.074, P=0.055). However, no association was seen between depressive symptoms and total testosterone levels, free testosterone levels, oestradiol levels or SHBG levels. In terms of the presence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms, there were no statistically significant differences between patients in the lowest quartile of sex steroid hormone levels and those in other quartiles of sex steroid hormone levels. Similarly to Western studies, our study shows that DHEA and DHEAS levels are associated with depressive symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3739563  PMID: 21874029
Chinese; dehydroepiandrosterone; depression; elderly men; testosterone
3.  Differences in androgens of HIV positive patients with and without Kaposi sarcoma. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1995;48(6):513-518.
AIM--Since most forms of Kaposi sarcoma are much more common in men than in women, the aim of this study was to examine serum concentrations of sex steroids in HIV positive men with and without Kaposi sarcoma. METHODS--Blood samples from 34 HIV positive men without Kaposi sarcoma (KS-) and 28 with Kaposi sarcoma (KS+) and from 35 HIV negative men (controls) were analysed for adrenal and gonadal steroids. Further analysis was done in subgroups classified by CD4 lymphocyte counts. RESULTS--KS+ patients had significantly higher serum dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone concentrations than the KS- patients, and their DHEA, DHEA sulphate, testosterone, and androstenedione values were higher than in the controls. The KS+ patients with more than 500 CD4 lymphocytes per mm3 had significantly higher serum DHEA, DHEA sulphate, and testosterone than the KS- patients with the same CD4 counts; those with 500-200 CD4 cells/mm3 had higher serum DHEA and testosterone than the equivalent KS- men; and those with < 200 CD4 cells/mm3 had raised DHEA only compared with KS- men. Both KS+ and KS- men had higher serum progesterone and oestradiol than the controls. Glucocorticoids were not significantly altered. CONCLUSIONS--The high androgen levels in KS+ patients, particularly in the early stages of the disease (> 500 CD4 cells/mm3), may affect the immune system by inducing an abnormal cytokine profile, or by increasing T8 proliferation and activation, or both. This raises the question of the relationship between androgens and Kaposi sarcoma.
PMCID: PMC502679  PMID: 7665693
4.  A SULT2A1 genetic variant identified by GWAS as associated with low serum DHEAS does not impact on the actual DHEA/DHEAS ratio 
DHEA is the major precursor of human sex steroid synthesis and is inactivated via sulfonation to DHEAS. A previous genome-wide association study related the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2637125, located near the coding region of DHEA sulfotransferase, SULT2A1, to serum DHEAS concentrations. However, the functional relevance of this SNP with regard to DHEA sulfonation is unknown. Using data from 3300 participants of the population-based cohort Study of Health in Pomerania, we identified 43 individuals being homozygote for the minor allele of the SNP rs2637125 (AA) and selected two sex- and age-matched individuals with AG and GG genotype (n=172) respectively. Steroid analysis including measurement of serum DHEA and DHEAS was carried out by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, employing steroid oxime analysis for enhancing the sensitivity of DHEA detection. We applied quantile regression models to compare median hormone levels across SULT2A1 genotypes. Median comparisons by SULT2A1 genotype (AA vs AG and GG genotypes respectively) showed no differences in the considered hormones including DHEAS, DHEA, androstenedione, as well as cortisol and cortisone concentrations. SULT2A1 genotype also had no effect on the DHEA/DHEAS ratio. Sex-stratified analyses, as well as alternative use of the SULT2A1 SNP rs182420, yielded similar negative results. Genetic variants of SULT2A1 do not appear to have an effect on individual DHEA and DHEAS concentrations or the DHEA/DHEAS ratio as a marker of DHEA sulfonation capacity.
PMCID: PMC3535724  PMID: 23132913
DHEAS; steroids; genome-wide association study; genetics; epidemiology
5.  Testosterone Increases Circulating Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Levels in the Male Rhesus Macaque 
The adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate (DHEAS) are two of the most abundant hormones in the human circulation. Furthermore, they are released in a circadian pattern and show a marked age-associated decline. Adult levels of DHEA and DHEAS are significantly higher in males than in females, but the reason for this sexual dimorphism is unclear. In the present study, we administered supplementary androgens [DHEA, testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)] to aged male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). While this paradigm increased circulating DHEAS immediately after DHEA administration, an increase was also observed following either testosterone or DHT administration, resulting in hormonal profiles resembling levels observed in young males in terms of both amplitude and circadian pattern. This stimulatory effect was limited to DHEAS, as an increase in circulating cortisol was not observed. Taken together, these data demonstrate an influence of the hypothalamo-pituitary–testicular axis on adrenal function in males, possibly by sensitizing the zona reticularis to the stimulating action of adrenocorticopic hormone. This represents a plausible mechanism to explain sex differences in circulating DHEA and DHEAS levels, and may have important implications in the development of hormone therapies designed for elderly men and women.
PMCID: PMC4070064  PMID: 25009533
adrenal gland; aging; androgen; dehydroepiandrosterone; non-human primate; testosterone
Fertility and sterility  2008;91(5):1848-1852.
We tested the hypothesis that increasing DHEAS levels is associated with improved insulin resistance in patients with PCOS.
Cross-sectional cohort analysis.
Academic medical center.
352 women with PCOS.
Patients presenting for evaluation of sumptoms related to androgen excess were evaluated physically and biochemically through laboratory analysis.
Main Outcome Measures
Circulating DHEAS, total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and 17-hydroxyprogesterone (HP) levels, and calculated homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).
Bivariate analysis indicated that all parameters were associated with HOMA-IR, except HP and age, and confirmed a negative correlation between DHEAS and HOMA-IR. Multivariate analysis indicated that increases in DHEAS, SHBG, HP, and age were associated with decreasing HOMA-IR, while increases in FT, BMI, and WHR were associated with increasing HOMA-IR. In decreasing order of importance, the following variables predicted insulin resistance: Body mass index (BMI) > waist-hip ratio (WHR) > age > DHEAS > FT > SHBG > HP.
DHEAS is negatively correlated to insulin resistance in PCOS, and in our model ranked just behind other well-established predictors including BMI, WHR, and age. Whether this is due to a direct beneficial effect on insulin action by adrenal androgens such as DHEA, or whether DHEAS simply reflects the circulating levels of hyperinsulinemia, remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC2691796  PMID: 18439591
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; PCOS; dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; DHEAS; insulin resistance; adrenal androgens
7.  Clinical correlates of sex steroids and gonadotropins in men over the late adulthood : the Framingham Heart Study 
Low serum concentrations of sex steroids and gonadotropins in men have been associated with increased cardiometabolic risk and mortality, but the clinical correlates of these hormones in men over the late adulthood are less clearly understood.
We analyzed up to five serial measurements of total testosterone (TT), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and total estradiol (EST) in older men in the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study to determine the short- (2-years; 1,165 person-observations in 528 individuals) and long-term (up to 10-years follow-up; 2,520 person-observations in 835 individuals with mean baseline age: 71.2 years) clinical correlates of these sex steroids and gonadotropins using multilevel modelling and Generalized Estimating Equations.
Age, body mass index, and pre-existing type 2 diabetes were inversely related to long-term TT concentrations, whereas higher systolic blood pressure showed a positive association. Furthermore, age and pre-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) were inversely and HDL cholesterol concentrations positively associated with long-term DHEAS concentrations. Analyses of short-term changes revealed age was inversely related to DHEAS, but positively related to FSH and LH concentrations.
Our community-based study identified modifiable correlates of decreasing TT and DHEAS concentrations in elderly men, suggesting that maintenance of a low CVD risk factor burden may mitigate the age-related decline of these hormones over the late adulthood.
PMCID: PMC3434249  PMID: 22640232
sex steroids; gonadotropins; testosterone; aging male; Framingham Heart Study
8.  The Association of Plasma Androgen Levels with Breast, Ovarian, and Endometrial Cancer Risk Factors Among Postmenopausal Women 
Although androgens may play an etiologic role in breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers, little is known about factors that influence circulating androgen levels. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 646 postmenopausal women in the Nurses' Health Study to examine associations between adult risk factors for cancer, including the Rosner/Colditz breast cancer risk score, and plasma levels of testosterone, free testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS). All analyses were adjusted for age, laboratory batch, and other cancer risk factors. Free testosterone levels were 79% higher among women with a BMI of ≥30 vs. <22 kg/m2 (p-trend<0.01) and 25% higher among women with a waist circumference of >89 vs. ≤ 74 cm (p-trend=0.02). Consuming >30 grams of alcohol a day vs. none was associated with a 31% increase in DHEA and 59% increase in DHEAS levels (p-trend=0.01 and <0.01, respectively). Smokers of ≥25 cigarettes per day had 35% higher androstenedione and 44% higher testosterone levels than never smokers (p-value, F-test=0.03 and 0.01, respectively). No significant associations were observed for height or time since menopause with any androgen. Testosterone and free testosterone levels were approximately 30% lower among women with a hysterectomy vs. without (both p-values<0.01). Overall breast cancer risk was not associated with any of the androgens. Thus, several risk factors, including body size, alcohol intake, smoking, and hysterectomy, were related to androgen levels among postmenopausal women, while others, including height and time since menopause, were not. Future studies are needed to clarify further which lifestyle factors modulate androgen levels.
PMCID: PMC2875384  PMID: 19569181
androgens; endogenous hormones; cancer risk factors; epidemiology
9.  Androstenediol Complements Estrogenic Bioactivity during the Menopausal Transition 
Menopause (New York, N.y.)  2012;19(6):650-657.
The perimenopausal increase in circulating dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels during the menopausal transition (MT) is accompanied by other adrenal steroids that have the potential to alter the estrogen/androgen balance and explain the wide inter-woman range of estrogen-related symptoms experienced during the MT.
Annual serum samples from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), which had previously been analyzed for immunoreactive estradiol (E2), testosterone (T), DHEAS and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), were selected based on DHEAS concentration and analyzed for immunoreactive and bioactive estrogens and androgens, including immunoreactive androstenedione (Adione), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and 5-androstene-3β,17β-diol (androstenediol, Adiol).
A two-fold increase in circulating Adione and T was found to rise in parallel with the rise in circulating DHEAS, while DHEA and Adiol concentrations rose seven to eightfold. Circulating Adiol, which has both androgenic and estrogenic biological activity, was significantly associated (p<0.02) with circulating estrogen bioactivity only when E2 concentrations were low and Adiol levels were high.
The wide range of circulating levels of Adiol and its contribution to total circulating estrogenicity during the MT is consistent with the observed inter-woman difference in symptoms at this time. Therefore, we conclude that Adiol contributes to circulating estrogenicity when E2 production falls at menopause and may contribute significantly to the endocrine changes experienced by midlife women.
PMCID: PMC3366061  PMID: 22415563
Androstenediol; estrogenicity; menopause; adrenal
10.  Lower Serum DHEAS levels are associated with a higher degree of physical disability and depressive symptoms in middle-aged to older African American women 
Maturitas  2007;57(4):347-360.
Changes in androgen levels and associations with chronic disease, physical and neuropsychological function and disability in women over the middle to later years of life are not well understood and have not been extensively studied in African-American women.
The present cross-sectional analysis reports such levels and associations in community dwelling, African American women aged 49 – 65 years from St. Louis, Missouri.
A home-based physical examination and a health status questionnaire were administered to randomly sampled women. Body composition (DEXA), lower limb and hand-grip muscle strength, physical and neuropsychological function and disability levels were assessed. Blood was drawn and assayed for total testosterone (T), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS), oestradiol (E2), adiponectin, leptin, triglycerides, glucose, C-reactive protein (CRP) and cytokine receptors (sIL2r, sIL6r, sTNFr1 & sTNFr2). Multiple linear regression modelling was used to identify the best predictors of testosterone, DHEAS and Free Androgen Index (T/SHBG).
Seventy-four percent of women were menopausal and a quarter of these were taking oestrogen therapy. DHEAS and E2 declined between the ages of 49 and 65 years, whereas total T, SHBG and FAI remained stable. Total T and DHEAS levels were strongly correlated. In this population sample there were no independent associations of either total T or FAI with indicators of functional limitations, disability or clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Unlike total T and FAI, lower DHEAS levels was independently associated with both higher IADL scores (indicating a higher degree of physical disability) and higher CESD scores (indicating a higher degree of clinically relevant depressive symptoms).
There is an age-related decline in serum DHEAS in African-American women. Lower DHEAS levels appear to be associated with a higher degree of physical disability and depressive symptoms in this population.
PMCID: PMC2041800  PMID: 17451893
11.  ACE inhibitor use was associated with lower serum dehydroepiandrosterone concentrations in older men 
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity may influence the production of adrenal androgen precursors and testosterone. Use of ACE inhibitors may therefore have an influence on serum sex hormone concentrations in older men.
Design and Methods
1486 out of 2,000 community-dwelling Chinese men aged 65 years who participated in a cohort study were randomly selected to have archived fasting morning serum analyzed for androgen precursors and sex hormones. DNA was extracted from whole blood and analyzed for ACE gene I/D polymorphism.
Subjects with the ACE gene D allele (higher ACE activity) had higher serum dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) sulphate and DHEA than those with I/I genotype (P=0.014 and 0.018 respectively, Mann Whitney test). These differences were not significant after Bonferroni correction. Among those with history of hypertension, but without diabetes mellitus or cardiac failure, users of ACE inhibitors had significantly lower serum DHEA (median 1.78 versus 1.49 ng/ml in non-users, P =0.0074, Mann Whitney test) and also tended to have lower serum androstenedione and androst-5-ene-3β,17β-diol (0.68 versus 0.72 ng/ml in non-users; 552.4 versus 624.1 pg/ml respectively, both P values <0.05). Serum testosterone and estradiol were not significantly changed.
ACE inhibitor use was associated with lower serum DHEA in older men.
PMCID: PMC2883618  PMID: 20403346
androgen; dehydroepiandrosterone; angiotensin converting enzyme; angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor; gene polymorphism
12.  Age and skin site related differences in steroid metabolism in male skin point to a key role of sebocytes in cutaneous hormone metabolism 
Dermato-endocrinology  2012;4(1):58-64.
Hormone concentrations decline with aging. Up to now it was not clear, whether the decrease of hormone concentrations in blood samples are also present in cutaneous suction blister fluids, and whether skin from different anatomical sites shows different hormone concentrations.
Analysis of suction blister fluids and paired blood samples from young (mean 27.8 y) and old (mean 62.6 y) male subjects by UPLC-MS/MS showed that DHEA concentration in blood samples was age-dependently significantly reduced, but increased in suction blister fluids, while androstenedione behaved in an opposite manner to DHEA. Testosterone decreased age-dependently in blood samples and in suction blister fluids. Regarding skin sites, DHEA was lower in samples from upper back compared with samples from the forearm. In contrast, the concentrations of androstenedione and testosterone were higher in samples from upper back.
In vitro analyses showed that SZ95 sebocytes, but neither primary fibroblasts nor keratinocytes, were able to use DHEA as precursor for testosterone biosynthesis, which was confirmed by expression analysis of 3β-hydroxysteroiddehydrogenase in skin biopsies.
In conclusion, we show an inverse pattern of DHEA and androstenedione concentrations in blood vs. suction blister fluids, highlighting age-dependent changes of dermal testosterone biosynthesis, and a stronger metabolism in young skin. Furthermore, sebocytes play a central role in cutaneous androgen metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3408994  PMID: 22870354
13.  Four weeks of androstenedione supplementation diminishes the treatment response in middle aged men 
Objectives: To examine baseline hormonal concentrations and the pharmacokinetic response on day 0 and day 28 of 28 days of androstenedione supplementation.
Methods: Eight men (mean (SD) age 44.1 (3.0) years (range 40–48), weight 76.3 (9.4) kg, and percentage body fat 20.6 (6.7)) participated in a randomised, double blind, cross over, 2 x 28 day placebo controlled study. Subjects were tested on day 0 and 28 days after receiving 200 mg/day oral androstenedione and a placebo treatment with a 28 day washout period between treatments. Serum hormone concentrations were examined at baseline (time 0) and then at 30 minute intervals for 180 minutes to measure day 0 and day 28 pharmacokinetic responses. Analytes included androstenedione, total testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), oestradiol, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Lipid concentrations, weight, body composition, resting heart rate, and blood pressure were also measured.
Results: Analysis of integrated area under the curve (AUC) and time 0 hormonal concentrations by repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (p<0.05) and Fisher's post hoc analysis showed a significant increase in AUC for serum androstenedione at day 0 (108.3 (27.6) nmol/l) in the supplemented condition as compared with day 28 (43.4 (13.1) nmol/l) and placebo (2.1 (0.8) nmol/l) conditions. No other significant AUC changes were noted. After 28 days of supplementation, DHEAS levels were significantly elevated (p = 0.00002) at time 0 (12.9 (1.3) µmol/l) compared with placebo (7.0 (0.8) µmol/l) with a trend (p = 0.08) toward elevation of time 0 androstenedione concentrations (16.4 (7.0) nmol/l) compared with placebo (5.6 (0.4) nmol/l). No changes were found for lipids, resting heart rate, or blood pressure, weight, or percentage body fat.
Conclusion: Although supplementation with 200 mg/day androstenedione increases AUC for serum androstenedione in the day 0 condition, continued supplementation is characterised by a diminished treatment response, coupled with time 0 increases in testosterone precursors but not testosterone.
PMCID: PMC1724646  PMID: 12782545
14.  Menopausal Transition Stage-Specific Changes in Circulating Adrenal Androgens 
Menopause (New York, N.y.)  2012;19(6):658-663.
It is now recognized that mean circulating DHEAS concentrations in most midlife women exhibit a positive inflection starting in the early perimenopause, continuing through the early post menopause and returning to early perimenopausal levels by late post menopause. This rise in mean DHEAS is accompanied by concomitant rises in testosterone (T), dehydroepiandrosteone (DHEA), androstenedione (Adione), and an equal rise androstenediol (Adiol). These observations suggest that there is a specific relationship between the circulating levels of steroids emanating from the adrenal, declining ovarian function and stages of the menopausal transition (MT). This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the menopausal stage-specific change in circulating DHEAS is associated with concomitant changes in the circulating pattern of adrenal steroids and that some of these adrenal androgens could influence the circulating estrogen/androgen balance.
Stored annual serum samples (n=120) were first selected to represent four longitudinal DS profiles of individual women in order to assess and compare changes in the adrenal contribution to circulating steroids.
Changes in mean circulating DHEAS levels in midlife women during the MT is associated with changes in mean circulating Testosterone (T), androstendione (Adione), and androstenediol (Adiol). Mean Adione and T concentrations changed the least while mean DHEAS and Adiol changed the most.
Changes in circulating steroid hormone emanating from the adrenal during the menopausal transition may be more important than the decline of ovarian function in terms of altering the estrogen/androgen balance.
PMCID: PMC3366025  PMID: 22415570
DHEAS; androstenediol; estrogen; estrogenicity; menopause; adrenal
15.  DHEA: panacea or snake oil? 
Canadian Family Physician  1999;45:1723-1728.
OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence that supplementation with dehydro-3-epiandrosterone (DHEA) is beneficial in aging, cardiovascular disease, immune function, and cancer. METHODS: English-language literature search using MEDLINE with subject headings DHEA, adrenal steroids, and androgens. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: Although some randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have been conducted, most of the evidence supporting use of DHEA for any disease state is of poor quality and consists of case reports and case-control and open-label clinical trials. MAIN MESSAGE: Dehydro-3-epiandrosterone is available as a health food supplement and is touted as being beneficial for a variety of diseases. It might be beneficial for improving someone's sense of well-being; minor improvements in body composition have been noted for men only. No consistent relationship has been demonstrated between levels of DHEA and risk of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, or immune function. Insufficient evidence exists to support using DHEA for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. High levels of DHEA are associated with adverse effects, such as increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer at certain ages and reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. CONCLUSIONS: Current enthusiasm for using DHEA as a panacea for aging, heart disease, and cancer is not supported by scientific evidence in the literature. Given the potentially serious adverse effects, using DHEA in the clinical setting should be restricted to well-designed clinical trials only.
PMCID: PMC2328381  PMID: 10424272
Atherosclerosis  2012;224(1):228-234.
Sex steroid hormones have been postulated to involve in blood pressure (BP) regulation. We examine the association of endogenous sex hormone levels with longitudinal change of BP and risk of developing hypertension in initially normotensive postmenopausal women.
We conducted prospective analysis among 619 postmenopausal women free of hypertension at baseline in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Change of BP and development of incident hypertension were assessed during a mean of 4.8 years follow-up.
After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and lifestyle factors, baseline serum estradiol (E2), total and bioavailable testosterone (T), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were each positively and sex- hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was inversely associated with risk of hypertension. Additional adjustment for body mass index eliminated the associations for E2 and T but only attenuated the associations for DHEA and SHBG. The corresponding multivariable hazard ratios (95% CIs) in the highest quartile were 1.28 (0.83–1.97) for E2, 1.38 (0.89–2.14) for total T, 1.42 (0.90–2.23) for bioavailable T, 1.54 (1.02–2.31) for DHEA, and 0.48 (0.30–0.76) for SHBG. Adjustment for fasting glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein further attenuated the association for DHEA but not SHBG. Associations of sex hormones with longitudinal BP change were similar.
In postmenopausal women, higher endogenous E2, T, and DHEA and lower SHBG were associated with higher incidence of hypertension and greater longitudinal rise in BP. The associations for E2, T, and DHEA were mostly explained by adiposity, while the association for SHBG was independent of measures of adiposity, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3428144  PMID: 22862963
sex steroid hormones; hypertension; blood pressure; postmenopausal women; prospective study; epidemiology
17.  Androgen conversion in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis synoviocytes – androstenedione and testosterone inhibit estrogen formation and favor production of more potent 5α-reduced androgens 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(5):R938-R948.
In synovial cells of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), conversion products of major anti-inflammatory androgens are as yet unknown but may be proinflammatory. Therefore, therapy with androgens in RA could be a problem. This study was carried out in order to compare conversion products of androgens in RA and OA synoviocytes. In 26 OA and 24 RA patients, androgen conversion in synovial cells was investigated using radiolabeled substrates and analysis by thin-layer chromatography and HPLC. Aromatase expression was studied by immunohistochemistry. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) was converted into androstenediol, androstenedione (ASD), 16αOH-DHEA, 7αOH-DHEA, testosterone, estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), and 16αOH-testosterone (similar in OA and RA). Surprisingly, levels of E2, E3, and 16α-hydroxylated steroids were as high as levels of testosterone. In RA and OA, 5α-dihydrotestosterone increased conversion of DHEA into testosterone but not into estrogens. The second androgen, ASD, was converted into 5α-dihydro-ASD, testosterone, and negligible amounts of E1, E2, E3, or 16αOH-testosterone. 5α-dihydro-ASD levels were higher in RA than OA. The third androgen, testosterone, was converted into ASD, 5α-dihydro-ASD, 5α-dihydrotestosterone, and negligible quantities of E1 and E2. 5α-dihydrotestosterone was higher in RA than OA. ASD and testosterone nearly completely blocked aromatization of androgens. In addition, density of aromatase-positive cells and concentration of released E2, E3, and free testosterone from superfused synovial tissue was similar in RA and OA but estrogens were markedly higher than free testosterone. In conclusion, ASD and testosterone might be favorable anti-inflammatory compounds because they decrease aromatization and increase anti-inflammatory 5α-reduced androgens. In contrast, DHEA did not block aromatization but yielded high levels of estrogens and proproliferative 16α-hydroxylated steroids. Androgens were differentially converted to pro- and anti-inflammatory steroid hormones via diverse pathways.
PMCID: PMC1257423  PMID: 16207335
18.  Plasma Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Decline of Renal Function 
Clinical chemistry  2008;54(3):475-481.
Recent studies suggest an association between polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and the development of chronic kidney disease. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between PUFAs and renal function in older adults.
We performed a cross-sectional and prospective analysis of 931 adults, ≥65 years old, enrolled in the InCHIANTI study, a population-based cohort in Tuscany, Italy. Plasma PUFAs were measured at enrollment, and creatinine clearance was estimated by the Cockcroft-Gault equation at baseline and after 3-year follow-up.
At enrollment, participants with higher creatinine clearance had higher concentrations of HDL cholesterol, total plasma PUFAs, plasma n-3 fatty acid (FA), and plasma n-6 FA and lower triglycerides. From enrollment to the 3-year follow-up visit, creatinine clearance declined by 7.8 (12.2) mL/min (P <0.0001). Baseline total plasma PUFAs, n-3 FA, n-6 FA, and linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids were strong independent predictors of less steep decline in creatinine clearance from baseline to follow-up (P <0.0001, after adjusting for baseline creatinine clearance). After adjusting for baseline creatinine, baseline total plasma PUFAs, n-3 FA, and linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids were negatively associated with creatinine at 3-year follow-up. Participants with higher plasma PUFAs at enrollment had a lower risk of developing renal insufficiency, defined by a creatinine clearance <60 mL/min, during 3-year follow-up.
High PUFA concentrations, both n-3 FA and n-6 FA, may attenuate the age-associated decline in renal function among older community-dwelling women and men.
PMCID: PMC2645703  PMID: 18202159
19.  Genetic Determinants of Serum Testosterone Concentrations in Men 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(10):e1002313.
Testosterone concentrations in men are associated with cardiovascular morbidity, osteoporosis, and mortality and are affected by age, smoking, and obesity. Because of serum testosterone's high heritability, we performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data in 8,938 men from seven cohorts and followed up the genome-wide significant findings in one in silico (n = 871) and two de novo replication cohorts (n = 4,620) to identify genetic loci significantly associated with serum testosterone concentration in men. All these loci were also associated with low serum testosterone concentration defined as <300 ng/dl. Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) locus (17p13-p12) were identified as independently associated with serum testosterone concentration (rs12150660, p = 1.2×10−41 and rs6258, p = 2.3×10−22). Subjects with ≥3 risk alleles of these variants had 6.5-fold higher risk of having low serum testosterone than subjects with no risk allele. The rs5934505 polymorphism near FAM9B on the X chromosome was also associated with testosterone concentrations (p = 5.6×10−16). The rs6258 polymorphism in exon 4 of SHBG affected SHBG's affinity for binding testosterone and the measured free testosterone fraction (p<0.01). Genetic variants in the SHBG locus and on the X chromosome are associated with a substantial variation in testosterone concentrations and increased risk of low testosterone. rs6258 is the first reported SHBG polymorphism, which affects testosterone binding to SHBG and the free testosterone fraction and could therefore influence the calculation of free testosterone using law-of-mass-action equation.
Author Summary
Testosterone is the most important testicular androgen in men. Low serum testosterone concentrations are associated with cardiovascular morbidity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and increased mortality risk. Thus, there is growing evidence that serum testosterone is a valuable biomarker of men's overall health status. Studies in male twins indicate that there is a strong heritability of serum testosterone. Here we perform a large-scale genome-wide association study to examine the effects of common genetic variants on serum testosterone concentrations. By examining 14,429 men, we show that genetic variants in the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) locus and on the X chromosome are associated with a substantial variation in serum testosterone concentrations and increased risk of low testosterone. The reported associations may now be used in order to better understand the functional background of recently identified disease associations related to low testosterone. Importantly, we identified the first known genetic variant, which affects SHBG's affinity for binding testosterone and the free testosterone fraction and could therefore influence the calculation of free testosterone. This finding suggests that individual-based SHBG-testosterone affinity constants are required depending on the genotype of this single-nucleotide polymorphism.
PMCID: PMC3188559  PMID: 21998597
20.  Premenopausal serum androgens and breast cancer risk: a nested case-control study 
Prospective epidemiologic studies have consistently shown that levels of circulating androgens in postmenopausal women are positively associated with breast cancer risk. However, data in premenopausal women are limited.
A case-control study nested within the New York University Women's Health Study was conducted. A total of 356 cases (276 invasive and 80 in situ) and 683 individually-matched controls were included. Matching variables included age and date, phase, and day of menstrual cycle at blood donation. Testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were measured using direct immunoassays. Free testosterone was calculated.
Premenopausal serum testosterone and free testosterone concentrations were positively associated with breast cancer risk. In models adjusted for known risk factors of breast cancer, the odds ratios for increasing quintiles of testosterone were 1.0 (reference), 1.5 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.9 to 2.3), 1.2 (95% CI, 0.7 to 1.9), 1.4 (95% CI, 0.9 to 2.3) and 1.8 (95% CI, 1.1 to 2.9; Ptrend = 0.04), and for free testosterone were 1.0 (reference), 1.2 (95% CI, 0.7 to 1.8), 1.5 (95% CI, 0.9 to 2.3), 1.5 (95% CI, 0.9 to 2.3), and 1.8 (95% CI, 1.1 to 2.8, Ptrend = 0.01). A marginally significant positive association was observed with androstenedione (P = 0.07), but no association with DHEAS or SHBG. Results were consistent in analyses stratified by tumor type (invasive, in situ), estrogen receptor status, age at blood donation, and menopausal status at diagnosis. Intra-class correlation coefficients for samples collected from 0.8 to 5.3 years apart (median 2 years) in 138 cases and 268 controls were greater than 0.7 for all biomarkers except for androstenedione (0.57 in controls).
Premenopausal concentrations of testosterone and free testosterone are associated with breast cancer risk. Testosterone and free testosterone measurements are also highly reliable (that is, a single measurement is reflective of a woman's average level over time). Results from other prospective studies are consistent with our results. The impact of including testosterone or free testosterone in breast cancer risk prediction models for women between the ages of 40 and 50 years should be assessed. Improving risk prediction models for this age group could help decision making regarding both screening and chemoprevention of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3496150  PMID: 22339988
21.  Off-label use of hormones as an antiaging strategy: a review 
Given demographic evolution of the population in modern societies, one of the most important health care needs is successful aging with less frailty and dependency. During the last 20 years, a multitude of anti-aging practices have appeared worldwide, aiming at retarding or even stopping and reversing the effects of aging on the human body. One of the cornerstones of anti-aging is hormone replacement. At present, women live one third of their lives in a state of sex-hormone deficiency. Men are also subject to age-related testosterone decline, but andropause remains frequently under-diagnosed and under-treated. Due to the decline of hormone production from gonads in both sexes, the importance of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in steroid hormone production increases with age. However, DHEA levels also decrease with age. Also, growth hormone age-associated decrease may be so important that insulin growth factor-1 levels found in elderly individuals are sometimes as low as those encountered in adult patients with established deficiency. Skin aging as well as decreases in lean body mass, bone mineral density, sexual desire and erectile function, intellectual activity and mood have all been related to this decrease of hormone production with age. Great disparities exist between recommendations from scientific societies and actual use of hormone supplements in aging and elderly patients. In this article, we review actual data on the effects of age related hormone decline on the aging process and age-related diseases such as sarcopenia and falls, osteoporosis, cognitive decline, mood disorders, cardiovascular health and sexual activity. We also provide information on the efficiency and safety of hormone replacement protocols in aging patients. Finally, we argue on future perspectives of such protocols as part of everyday practice.
PMCID: PMC4116364  PMID: 25092967
Anti-aging; dehydroepiandrosterone; growth hormone; testosterone; estrogen; progesterone
22.  Androgen Deficiency and Dry Eye Syndrome in the Aging Male 
To evaluate the relationship between androgen levels and subjective and objective measures of dry eye syndrome (DES).
A total of 263 male patients from the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center eye clinic aged ≥50 were recruited for this prospective cross-sectional study. Patients completed Dry Eye Questionnaire 5, underwent tear film evaluation, and had serum androgen levels measured. The correlations between androgen levels, DES composite scores, DES symptoms, and global, lipid, and aqueous tear film parameters were evaluated.
Two hundred sixty-three patients with a mean age of 69 (50–95) were examined. There was no linear association between composite DES scores (generated using latent class analysis) and androgen levels. However, eyes with high DES scores (0.95–1.0) had higher levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (P = 0.03) and lower levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) (P = 0.02), androstenedione (A) (P = 0.02), and androstane-3α,17β-diol glucuronide (P = 0.03) compared to eyes with intermediate (0.05–0.95) or low (0–0.05) scores. There were no strong correlations between tear film measures and androgen levels. Regarding global parameters, a weak inverse correlation was found between corneal staining and A (r = −0.17, P = 0.009). For lipid parameters, a weak correlation existed between tear breakup time (TBUT) and A (r = 0.15, P = 0.02). When considering aqueous and lipid deficiency independently, the association between TBUT and A existed only with aqueous tear deficiency (r = 0.66, P = 0.002). Regarding aqueous parameters, a weak correlation existed between Schirmer test and DHEAS (r = 0.13, P = 0.047) and A (r = 0.21, P = 0.001).
There was a weak correlation between higher levels of androstenedione and healthier global, lipid, and aqueous tear film parameters.
We found weak correlations between lower levels of the androgen androstenedione and global, lipid, and aqueous tear film abnormalities in an older male veteran population.
PMCID: PMC4132553  PMID: 24994872
dry eye syndrome; androgens; meibomian gland
23.  Secretion of Unconjugated Androgens and Estrogens by the Normal and Abnormal Human Testis before and after Human Chorionic Gonadotropin 
The secretion of androgens and estrogens by normal and abnormal testes was compared by determining the concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione (Δ4A), testosterone (T), estrone (E1), and 17β-estradiol (E2) in peripheral and spermatic venous plasma samples from 14 normal men and 5 men with unilateral testicular atrophy. Four normal men and one patient with unilateral atrophy of the testis were given human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) before surgery. Plasma estrogens were determined by radioimmunoassay; plasma androgens were measured by the double-isotope dilution derivative technique. Peripheral concentrations of these steroids before and after HCG were similar in both the normal men and the patients with unilateral testicular atrophy. In normal men, the mean ±SE spermatic venous concentrations were DHEA, 73.1±11.7 ng/ml; Δ4A, 30.7±7.9 ng/ml; T, 751±114 ng/ml; E1, 306±55 pg/ml; and E2, 1298±216 pg/ml. Three of four subjects with unilateral testicular atrophy had greatly diminished spermatic venous levels of androgens and estrogens. HCG treatment increased the testicular secretion of DHEA and T fivefold, Δ4A threefold, E1 sixfold, and E2 eightfold in normal men. In the single subject with an atrophic testis who received HCG, the spermatic venous concentrations of androgens and estrogens were much less than in normal men similarly treated. We conclude that: (a) E1 is secreted by the human testis, but testicular secretion of E1 accounts for less than 5% of E1 production in normal men; (b) HCG stimulation produces increases in spermatic venous estrogens equal to or greater than the changes in androgens, including testosterone; and (c) strikingly decreased secretion of androgen and estrogen by unilateral atrophic human tests cannot be appreciated by analyses of peripheral steroid concentrations.
PMCID: PMC301431  PMID: 4271572
24.  Predictors of serum testosterone and DHEAS in African-American men 
There are few reported data on biochemical and functional correlates of androgen levels in African-American men. This study aimed at reporting physical and biochemical correlates of serum total testosterone (total T), bioavailable testosterone (BT) and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEAS) levels in community-dwelling, African-American men aged 50–65 years. Home-based physical examinations and health status questionnaires were administered to randomly sampled men. Body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), lower limb and hand-grip muscle strength, and neuropsychological functions were assessed. Levels of serum total T, BT, DHEAS, oestradiol (E2), adiponectin, leptin, triglycerides and glucose were measured. Multiple linear regression models were constructed to identify factors independently associated with androgen levels. DHEAS levels declined from age 50 to 65 years (p < 0.0001), but total T and BT levels remained constant. Independent of other associated factors, higher total T levels were associated with lower serum triglyceride levels (β = −0.142, p = 0.049); higher BT was associated with better performance on the trail-making tests (TMT-B:TMT-A ratio: β = −0.118, p = 0.024) and higher DHEAS levels were associated with lower adiponectin (β = −0.293, p = 0.047) and higher mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score (β = 0.098, p = 0.008). Multiple regression models predicted 21, 18 and 29% of variance in total T, BT and DHEAS, respectively. Higher total T levels were associated with serum metabolic markers, particularly lower triglycerides, whereas higher BT was associated with better cognitive and muscle function and DHEAS with lower adiponectin and higher MMSE scores
PMCID: PMC2717611  PMID: 18190426
Aging male; African-Americans; Testosterone; cognitive function; muscle function
25.  Adrenocortical steroid response to ACTH in different phenotypes of non-obese polycystic ovary syndrome 
Adrenal androgen excess is frequently observed in PCOS. The aim of the study was to determine whether adrenal gland function varies among PCOS phenotypes, women with hyperandrogenism (H) only and healthy women.
The study included 119 non-obese patients with PCOS (age: 22.2 ± 4.1y, BMI:22.5 ± 3.1 kg/m2), 24 women with H only and 39 age and BMI- matched controls. Among women with PCOS, 50 had H, oligo-anovulation (O), and polycystic ovaries (P) (PHO), 32 had O and H (OH), 23 had P and H (PH), and 14 had P and O (PO). Total testosterone (T), SHBG and DHEAS levels at basal and serum 17-hydroxprogesterone (17-OHP), androstenedione (A4), DHEA and cortisol levels after ACTH stimulation were measured.
T, FAI and DHEAS, and basal and AUC values for 17-OHP and A4 were significantly and similarly higher in PCOS and H groups than controls (p < 0.05 for all) whereas three groups did not differ for basal or AUC values of DHEA and cortisol. Three hyperandrogenic subphenotypes (PHO, OH, and PH) compared to non-hyperandrogenic subphenotype (PO) had significantly and similarly higher T, FAI, DHEAS and AUC values for 17-OHP, A4 and DHEA (p < 0.05). All subphenotypes had similar basal and AUC values for cortisol.
PCOS patients and women with H only have similar and higher basal and stimulated adrenal androgen levels than controls. All three hyperandrogenic subphenotypes of PCOS exhibit similar and higher basal and stimulated adrenal androgen secretion patterns compared to non-hyperandrogenic subphenotype.
PMCID: PMC3523978  PMID: 23216997
Adrenal androgen; PCOS; ACTH; DHEAS

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