Endogenous testosterone and the prospective association with carotid atherosclerosis in men: The Tromsø study

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The role of testosterone in the development of cardiovascular disease is controversial. Recent observational studies, however, suggest a protective role of normal endogenous testosterone levels in the development of atherosclerosis. In a cohort from the Tromsø study, 1,101 men had both hormone-levels measured and the right carotid artery examined by ultrasound in 1994 and 2001. We studied the prospective association between sex hormone-levels and progression of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque area from 1994 to 2001. We also performed a cross-sectional study of 2,290 men from the population in 2001. The data were analysed by univariate correlations, analyses of covariance and multiple linear regression analyses. In the cross-sectional study, we found an inverse association between testosterone levels and total carotid plaque area (P < 0.05), after adjusting for age, systolic blood pressure, smoking and use of lipid-lowering drugs. We found no prospective associations between sex hormone-levels and change in plaque area or IMT from 1994 to 2001. The lack of prospective associations in our study may be due to increased use of anti-hypertensive and lipid-lowering drugs from 1994 baseline to follow-up.

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