Novel insights in the regulation and mechanism of androgen action on bone

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Purpose of review

This review provides an update on the associations of testosterone, estrogens, sex hormone binding globulin, GH-IGF-I, osteocalcin and mechanical loading with relevance to skeletal health.

Recent findings

The simple concept of a dual model of action of androgens, i.e. either directly via the androgen receptor or indirectly by estrogens, is proving more complicated because of novel interactions of these hormones and their receptors with other hormonal as well as mechanical signals.


Testosterone – in contrast with estrogen – is not uniformly associated with fracture risk in men. However, androgen receptor mediated action is clearly important for trabecular bone maintenance in male mice whereas both estrogens and androgens regulate cortical bone growth. The osteoblast and osteocyte appear to be involved in such androgen receptor mediated action on bone in male mice. Studies in mice also showed an unexpected interaction between osteocalcin and testosterone production in males and, vice versa, between ovarian production of follicle-stimulating hormone with testosterone and potentially bone formation.

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