Obese Young Males Have Lower Testosterone Levels

Low testosterone not secondary to an increase in estradiol concentrations

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity in young males is associated with low testosterone concentrations, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in Clinical Endocrinology.

To evaluate the effect of obesity on plasma testosterone concentrations in young males, Muniza Mogri, M.D., from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and colleagues analyzed morning fasting blood samples from 25 obese (body mass index [BMI] >95th percentile) and 25 lean (BMI <85th percentile) males (aged 14 to 20 years old) with Tanner staging >4. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and equilibrium dialysis were used to measure total and free testosterone and estradiol concentrations.

The researchers found that, compared to lean males, obese males had significantly lower total testosterone (10.5 versus 21.44 nmol/L), free testosterone (0.22 versus 0.39 nmol/L), and calculated free testosterone (0.26 versus 0.44 nmol/L) concentrations, after controlling for age and Tanner staging. Compared to lean males, obese males had significantly higher C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations (2.8 versus 0.8 mg/L), and Homeostasis Model of Assessment-Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) (3.8 versus 1.1). There was a positive association between free testosterone concentrations and age, and a negative association for free testosterone concentrations with BMI, HOMA-IR, and CRP concentrations. In males with subnormal testosterone concentrations, total and free estradiol concentrations were significantly lower.

"In view of the rising prevalence of obesity, the association of significantly lower testosterone concentrations with obesity in males is alarming and points to major public health [problems]," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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