A study has revealed that the deficiency of steroid hormones called androgens, such as testosterone, may be behind cardiovascular disease.
Published in the Journal of Andrology, a report on the study underscores the fact that a number of studies have linked androgen deficiency to an increased mortality in men.
Testosterone (T) is an anabolic hormone with a wide range of beneficial effects on men's health.
However, according to Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers, the therapeutic role of T in men's health remains a hotly debated issue for a number of reasons, including the purported risk of prostate cancer.
Working in collaboration with researchers from Lahey Clinic Northshore, Peabody, Massachusetts, they evaluated several relevant articles pertinent to androgen deficiency and vascular disease, and determined that a relationship did exist between androgen deficiency and CVD.
"In view of the emerging evidence suggesting that androgen deficiency is a risk factor for CVD, androgen replacement therapy could potentially reduce CVD risk in hypogonadal men. It should be emphasized, however, that androgen replacement therapy should be done with very thorough and careful monitoring for prostate diseases," said lead author Dr. Abdulmaged M. Traish, a professor of biochemistry and urology as well as the director of Laboratories for Sexual Medicine, Institute for Sexual Medicine at BUSM.
To further elucidate the role of androgen deficiency in vascular disease, the researchers recommend large, long-term, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials be carried out.
"Although challenges might lie ahead regarding how data from such clinical trials are to be properly interpreted and whether long-term safety can be established with T supplementation, these findings warrant definite investigation into the beneficial role that androgens might have in preventing cardiovascular risk in androgen-deficient men," added Traish.