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Farid Saad, Antonio Aversa, Andrea M Isidori, Livia Zafalon, Michael Zitzmann and Louis Gooren

Objective

Testosterone has a spectrum of effects on the male organism. This review attempts to determine, from published studies, the time-course of the effects induced by testosterone replacement therapy from their first manifestation until maximum effects are attained.

Design

Literature data on testosterone replacement.

Results

Effects on sexual interest appear after 3 weeks plateauing at 6 weeks, with no further increments expected beyond. Changes in erections/ejaculations may require up to 6 months. Effects on quality of life manifest within 3–4 weeks, but maximum benefits take longer. Effects on depressive mood become detectable after 3–6 weeks with a maximum after 18–30 weeks. Effects on erythropoiesis are evident at 3 months, peaking at 9–12 months. Prostate-specific antigen and volume rise, marginally, plateauing at 12 months; further increase should be related to aging rather than therapy. Effects on lipids appear after 4 weeks, maximal after 6–12 months. Insulin sensitivity may improve within few days, but effects on glycemic control become evident only after 3–12 months. Changes in fat mass, lean body mass, and muscle strength occur within 12–16 weeks, stabilize at 6–12 months, but can marginally continue over years. Effects on inflammation occur within 3–12 weeks. Effects on bone are detectable already after 6 months while continuing at least for 3 years.

Conclusion

The time-course of the spectrum of effects of testosterone shows considerable variation, probably related to pharmacodynamics of the testosterone preparation. Genomic and non-genomic effects, androgen receptor polymorphism and intracellular steroid metabolism further contribute to such diversity.

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Giovanni Corona, Vito A Giagulli, Elisa Maseroli, Linda Vignozzi, Antonio Aversa, Michael Zitzmann, Farid Saad, Edoardo Mannucci and Mario Maggi

Objective

The role of testosterone (T) in regulating body composition is conflicting. Thus, our goal is to meta-analyse the effects of T supplementation (TS) on body composition and metabolic outcomes.

Methods

All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effect of TS on different endpoints were considered.

Results

Overall, 59 trials were included in the study enrolling 3029 and 2049 patients in TS and control groups respectively. TS was associated with any significant modification in body weight, waist circumference and BMI. Conversely, TS was associated with a significant reduction in fat and with an increase in lean mass as well as with a reduction of fasting glycaemia and insulin resistance. The effect on fasting glycaemia was even higher in younger individuals and in those with metabolic diseases. When only RCTs enrolling hypogonadal (total T <12 mol/l) subjects were considered, a reduction of total cholesterol as well as triglyceride (TGs) levels were also detected. Conversely, an improvement in HDL cholesterol levels as well as in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was not observed.

Conclusion

Our data suggest that TS is able to improve body composition and glycometabolic profile particularly in younger subjects and in those with metabolic disturbances. Specifically designed studies are urgently needed to confirm this point.

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Giovanni Corona, Giulia Rastrelli, Matteo Monami, Farid Saad, Michaela Luconi, Marcello Lucchese, Enrico Facchiano, Alessandra Sforza, Gianni Forti, Edoardo Mannucci and Mario Maggi

Objective

Few randomized clinical studies have evaluated the impact of diet and physical activity on testosterone levels in obese men with conflicting results. Conversely, studies on bariatric surgery in men generally have shown an increase in testosterone levels. The aim of this study is to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of available trials on the effect of body weight loss on sex hormones levels.

Design

Meta-analysis.

Methods

An extensive Medline search was performed including the following words: ‘testosterone’, ‘diet’, ‘weight loss’, ‘bariatric surgery’, and ‘males’. The search was restricted to data from January 1, 1969 up to August 31, 2012.

Results

Out of 266 retrieved articles, 24 were included in the study. Of the latter, 22 evaluated the effect of diet or bariatric surgery, whereas two compared diet and bariatric surgery. Overall, both a low-calorie diet and bariatric surgery are associated with a significant (P<0.0001) increase in plasma sex hormone-binding globulin-bound and -unbound testosterone levels (total testosterone (TT)), with bariatric surgery being more effective in comparison with the low-calorie diet (TT increase: 8.73 (6.51–10.95) vs 2.87 (1.68–4.07) for bariatric surgery and the low-calorie diet, respectively; both P<0.0001 vs baseline). Androgen rise is greater in those patients who lose more weight as well as in younger, non-diabetic subjects with a greater degree of obesity. Body weight loss is also associated with a decrease in estradiol and an increase in gonadotropins levels. Multiple regression analysis shows that the degree of body weight loss is the best determinant of TT rise (B=2.50±0.98, P=0.029).

Conclusions

These data show that weight loss is associated with an increase in both bound and unbound testosterone levels. The normalization of sex hormones induced by body weight loss is a possible mechanism contributing to the beneficial effects of surgery in morbid obesity.