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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 12, 2016

Male gonadal axis function in patients with type 2 diabetes

Pablo R. Costanzo EMAIL logo and Pablo Knoblovits


Patients with type 2 diabetes have lower serum testosterone levels and a higher prevalence of hypogonadism than non-diabetic patients, independently of the metabolic control of disease. The mechanisms underlying a decrease in testosterone might be related to age, obesity and insulin resistance, often present in patients with type 2 diabetes. The increase in estrogens due to higher aromatase enzyme activity in increased adipose tissue might exert negative-feedback inhibition centrally. Insulin stimulates gonadal axis activity at all three levels and therefore insulin resistance might account for the lower testosterone production. Leptin exerts a central stimulatory effect but inhibits testicular testosterone secretion. Thus, resistance to leptin in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes determines lower central effects of leptin with lower gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion and, on the other hand, hyperleptinemia secondary to leptin resistance inhibits testosterone secretion at the testicular level. However, lower testosterone levels in patients with diabetes are observed independently of age, weight and body mass index, which leads to the assumption that hyperglycemia per se might play a role in the decrease in testosterone. Several studies have shown that an overload of glucose results in decreased serum testosterone levels. The aim of this review is to assess changes in the male gonadal axis that occur in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Corresponding author: Pablo R. Costanzo, MD, Endocrinology Division, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, San Juan Avenue 4244 8th Floor, 20. CP 1233, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Phone: +54-11 49610610


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Received: 2016-2-23
Accepted: 2016-3-8
Published Online: 2016-4-12
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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