Obesity and low testosterone are double threat, study finds

Obese men with low testosterone are more susceptible to brain damage and diabetes risk, according to a new study.

The research – led by Christian J. Pike, PhD, professor in the Davis School of Gerontology at USC – found that two common symptoms of aging – decreased testosterone and weight gain – may lead to inflammation in the brain and poorer glucose tolerance.

"Low testosterone and obesity are common in aging men, and each is associated with type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease,” said the study’s lead investigator, Anusha Jayaraman, PhD, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “Our new findings demonstrate that obesity and low testosterone combine to not only increase the risk of diabetes but also damage the brain.”

Testosterone-deficient male mice receive high-fat diet

For the study, three groups of male mice were observed: one that had normal testosterone levels, another that underwent removal of the testes to ensure low testosterone levels and a third group that also had their testes removed, but which received testosterone treatment through a capsule implanted in the skin. All three groups of mice were fed a high-fat diet to induce weight gain.

The testosterone-deficient mice, when compared to the group with normal testosterone, had more body fat, higher blood sugar levels and poorer glucose tolerance, said Jayaraman.

Signs of brain inflammation

Not only did the mice with low testosterone show early signs of diabetes, but their brains also showed significantly more damage than the brains of mice with normal testosterone.

"Our findings suggest that low testosterone and obesity interact to regulate inflammation of the nervous system, which may increase the risk of disorders such as type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease," Jayaraman said.

The mice that received testosterone therapy saw reduced negative outcomes, Jayaraman noted, suggesting that testosterone treatment might be helpful in preventing the harmful effects of obesity and low testosterone levels.

Source: Science Daily

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