Last updated on February 2018

Cardiovascular Outcomes of Low Testosterone

Brief description of study

This study plans to learn more about heart and vascular aging in men. In some men as they get older, testosterone levels fall below the normal range for young men. Also, as men get older cardiovascular health worsens. This can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. In this study we want to find out what causes cardiovascular health to worsen in older men. Also we want to find out what happens when testosterone levels are lowered for a short time. Specifically, we want to see if the reduction in cardiovascular health in older men with low testosterone levels is because of damage to mitochondria. Mitochondria are the main power supply of the cells in our body. The results from this study will help to understand why cardiovascular health declines in older men with low testosterone levels compared to younger men and older men who have higher testosterone levels. Knowing this information will help to develop therapies to prevent heart disease in men.

Detailed Study Description

Cardiovascular (CV) aging, featuring large artery stiffening, endothelial dysfunction, and impaired left ventricular (LV) diastolic function, is a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Male aging is associated with a gradual and variable decline in serum testosterone (T) and low T is associated with accelerated CV aging. The purpose of this research is to determine the key functional mechanisms underlying accelerated CV aging in older men with low T. The overall hypothesis is that mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are mechanisms underlying the apparent accelerated CV aging in older men with low T. To test this hypothesis Aim 1 will use cross-sectional comparisons of young and older men with normal T (400 ng/dl), and older men with chronically low T (<300 ng/dl). To better isolate the effects of low T from factors that change with aging and chronic low T, Aim 2 will expand on the cross-sectional comparisons by assessing measures of CV function, oxidative stress burden and mitochondrial function in older men with normal T before and after randomization to short-term (28 d) gonadal suppression (gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonist, GnRHant) + placebo (PL), GnRHant+T alone, or GnRHant+T+aromatase inhibitor (AI). AI will control for the effects of aromatization of T to estradiol (E2), and thereby isolate T effects while suppressing E2, a potent modulator of CV function. The results from this research should provide new mechanistic insight into the processes that mediate the impairment in CV function at the cellular and systemic level in older men with low T. These studies will lead to a better understanding of the independent role of T in age-related changes in CV function and the mechanisms of action, which will help guide future sex-specific therapies for the prevention of CVD.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02758431

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Kerrie Moreau, PhD

University of Colorado CCTSI CTRC
Denver, CO United States
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