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Volume 10 Supplement 1

de Senectute: Age and Health Forum

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Hypogonadism and aging

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study [1] shows that male hormones decrease with aging. This is due to some testicular and hypothalamic-pituitary defects. Impaired hypothalamic secretory reserve, resulting in a reduced and chaotic secretion of GnRH, reduced pituitary response to GnRH, resulting in an increased but irregular LH pulse frequency [2]

With aging, there is a 1.3% increase of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels per year [3]. SHBG binds strongly to testosterone, resulting in a reduction of bioavailable testosterone. The age-related reduction of testosterone seems genetically determined3.The Testosterone reduction plays many effects on body composition [4]. Testosterone also operates its effects on the penis leading to a reduction of smooth muscle cells/connettive tissue rate, neuronal nitric oxide synthases, arterial influx/venoocclusion rate. Recently, three scientific societies published some recommendations for the investigation, treatment and monitoring of this kind of hypogonadism, that has been renamed Late Onset Hypogonadism [5]. These recommendationshave been updated lately [6] and shared by two more scientific societies.


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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lanzafame, F. Hypogonadism and aging. BMC Geriatr 10 (Suppl 1), L23 (2010).

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