Cardiometabolic risks during anabolic hormone supplementation in older men

Cardiometabolic risks during anabolic hormone supplementation in older men / J. He, S. Bhasin, E.F. Binder, K.E. Yarasheski, C. Castaneda-Sceppa, E.T. Schroeder, R. Roubenoff, C-P. Chou, S.P. Azen, F.R. Sattler. - (Obesity 21 (2013) 5 (May); p. 968-975)

  • PMID: 23784898
  • PMCID: PMC3930448
  • DOI: 10.1002/oby.20081


Objective: To determine the cardiometabolic risks of testosterone and growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy to youthful levels during aging.

Design and methods: A double-masked, partially placebo controlled study in 112 men 65-90 years-old was conducted. Transdermal testosterone (5 g vs. 10 g/day) using a Leydig Cell Clamp and subcutaneous recombinant GH (rhGH) (0 vs. 3 vs. 5 μg/kg/day) were administered for 16-weeks. Measurements included testosterone and IGF-1 levels, body composition by DEXA, and cardiometabolic risk factors (upper body fat, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, fasting triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and serum adiponectin) at baseline and after 16 weeks of treatment.

Results: Some cardiometabolic factors improved (total and trunk fat, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol) and others worsened (systolic blood pressure, insulin sensitivity index [QUICKI], adiponectin). Cardiometabolic risk composite scores (CRCSs) improved (-0.69 ± 1.55, P < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, QUICKI, triglycerides, and HDL-cholesterol contributed 33%, 16%, and 14% of the variance in CRCS, respectively. Pathway analyses indicated that changes in fat and lean mass were related to individual cardiometabolic variables and CRCS in a complex manner. Changes in BMI, reflecting composite effects of changes in fat and lean mass, were more robustly associated with cardiometabolic risks than changes in fat mass or LBM individually.

Conclusions: Testosterone and rhGH administration was associated with diverse changes in individual cardiometabolic risk factors, but in aggregate appeared not to worsen cardiometabolic risk in healthy older men after 4-months. The long-term effects of these and similar anabolic therapies on cardiovascular events should be investigated in populations with greater functional limitations along with important health disabilities including upper body obesity and other cardiometabolic risks.

Original document


Research / Study
18 October 2012
Azen, Stanley P.
Bhasin, Shalender
Binder, Ellen F.
Castaneda-Sceppa, Carmen
Chou, Chih-Ping
He, Jiaxiu
Roubenoff, Ronenn
Sattler, Fred R.
Schroeder, E. Todd
Yarasheski, Kevin E.
United States of America
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Boston University (BU)
Tufts University
University of Southern California (USC)
Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL)
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
Growth hormone (GH)
Medical terms
Cardiovascular diseases
Health effects
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Document category
Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
28 September 2021
Date of last modification
4 October 2021
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