The relationship between testosterone and molecular markers of inflammation in older men.

M. Maggio, S. Basaria, G. P. Ceda, A. Ble, S. M. Ling, S. Bandinelli, G. Valenti, L. Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Aging is accompanied by a pro-inflammatory state expressed by the increasing levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-6 (IL- 6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin- 1beta (IL-1beta). At the same time, aging is associated with a decrease in serum testosterone (T) levels. There is evidence from many experimental studies that IL-6, TNF-alpha and IL-1beta inhibit T secretion by their influence on the central (hypothalamic-pituitary) and peripheral (testicular) components of the gonadal axis. On the other hand, observational and interventional studies suggest that T supplementation reduces inflammatory markers in both young and old hypogonadal men. Preliminary data from 473 older male participants of the InCHIANTI population showed a significant inverse relationship between T and soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6r) levels (a soluble portion of the IL-6 receptor that may enhance the biological activity of IL-6) but not with other markers of inflammation. This study, together with previous observations, suggests that a close relationship exists between the development of a pro-inflammatory state and the decline in T levels, two trends that are often observed in aging men. In the context of this paradigm, we discuss androgen deprivation therapy, a treatment used in men with metastatic prostate cancer as an ideal model to improve our understanding of the relationship between T and inflammatory markers. We advocate the notion that changes in inflammatory markers and T in aging men are causally linked. However, longitudinal and interventional studies are needed to confirm that T can be used therapeutically, based on its anti-inflammatory properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of endocrinological investigation
Issue number11 Suppl Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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