Bioavailable testosterone linearly declines over a wide age spectrum in men and women from the Baltimore longitudinal study of aging

Elisa Fabbri, Yang An, Marta Gonzalez-Freire, Marco Zoli, Marcello Maggio, Stephanie A. Studenski, Josephine M. Egan, Chee W. Chia, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Age-related changes in testosterone levels in older persons and especially in women have not been fully explored. The objective of this study was to describe age-related trajectories of total testosterone (TT), ammonium sulfate precipitation-measured bioavailable testosterone (mBT), and sex hormone-binding glycoprotein (SHBG) in men and women from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, with special focus on the oldest adults. Methods: Participants included 788 White men and women aged 30-96 years with excellent representation of old and oldest old, who reported not taking medications known to interfere with testosterone. Longitudinal data were included when available. TT, mBT, and SHBG were assayed. Age-related trajectories of mBT were compared with those obtained using calculated bioavailable testosterone (cBT). Generalized least square models were performed to describe age-related trajectories of TT, mBT, and SHBG in men and women. Results: mBT linearly declines over the life span and even at older ages in both sexes. In men, TT remains quite stable until the age of 70 years and then declines at older ages, whereas in women TT progressively declines in premenopausal years and slightly increases at older ages. Differences in age-related trajectories between total and bioavailable testosterone are only partially explained by age changes in SHBG, whose levels increases at accelerated rates in old persons. Noteworthy, although mBT and cBT highly correlated with one another, mBT is a much stronger correlate of chronological age than cBT. Conclusion: In both men and women, mBT linearly declines over the life span and even at old ages. Its relationship with age-related phenotypes should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1202-1209
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume71
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Men
  • Testosterone
  • Trajectories
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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