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7 May 2012
Low testosterone cranks up risk for diabetes
by George Atkinson

Low testosterone is a risk factor for diabetes - no matter how much a man weighs, say researchers from the University of Edinburgh. The findings could help explain why older men are more at risk of developing diabetes, because testosterone levels fall in men as they age.

The researchers explained that testosterone acts on fat cells through molecules known as androgen receptors. These enable the testosterone to activate genes linked to obesity and diabetes. The research showed that mice in which the function of testosterone in fat tissue was impaired were more likely to be insulin resistant than mice in which the role of testosterone was not hindered.

Importantly, the findings showed that insulin resistance occurred in mice when the function of testosterone was impaired - regardless of body weight.

"We know that men with low testosterone levels are more likely to become obese, and as a develop diabetes. This study shows that low testosterone is a risk factor for diabetes no matter how much a person weighs. As men age their testosterone levels lower. This, along with increasing obesity, will increase the incidence of diabetes," noted researcher Kerry McInnes.

Researchers already knew that low testosterone levels are associated with increased obesity and therefore with increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but this study provides evidence that there can be increased risk even when body mass is not affected.

Discuss this article in our forum
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Source: University of Edinburgh

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