Effects of transdermal testosterone treatment on inflammatory markers in elderly males

Marcello Maggio, Peter Snyder, Francesca De Vita, Gian Ceda, Yuri Milaneschi, Fulvio Lauretani, Michele Luci, Chiara Cattabiani, Helen Peachey, Giorgio Valenti, Anne Cappola, Dan Longo, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: During the male aging process, testosterone (T) levels progressively fall and inflammatory biomarkers increase. Although a relationship between these 2 phenomena has been tested in previous clinical trials, there is inconclusive evidence about the potential anti-inflammatory action of T.

Methods: A total of 108 healthy males >65 years with serum T concentration 2 T or a placebo patch for 36 months. Ninety-six subjects completed the trial. Information and stored serum specimens from this trial were used to test the hypothesis of the inhibitory effect of T on inflammation. We evaluated 70 males (42 in the T group) who had banked specimens from multiple time points available for assays of T, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, soluble TNF-α receptor-1 (TNFR1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and soluble IL-6 receptors (sIL6r and sgp130).

Results: The mean age ± SD at baseline was 71.8 ± 4.9 years. Testosterone replacement therapy for 36 months did not induce significant decreases in inflammatory markers. A trend toward a significant increase was observed in the placebo group for TNF-α (P = .03) and sgp130 (P = .01). Significant differences in estimated means of TNFR1 (but not other inflammatory markers), with lower levels in the T group, were observed at the 36-month time point. In T-treated subjects we found an almost significant treatment x time interaction term TNFR1 (P = .02) independent of total body fat content as assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). No serious adverse effect was observed.

Conclusions: Transdermal T treatment of older males for 36 months is not associated with significant changes in inflammatory markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1170-1177
Number of pages8
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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