Testosterone therapy affects Mexican American men differently
|Rebecca Cunningham, PhD|
Ads touting testosterone replacement therapy are ubiquitous on radio and television. But medical research has determined that its success at enhancing libido may come at a price.
Researchers at UNT Health Science Center now report that while testosterone replacement therapy can damage brain health in some Caucasian men, Mexican-Americans appear to be protected from the negative effects of the sex hormone.
In Caucasian men with elevated oxidative stress, testosterone replacement therapy raises the risk of damage to their brain cells, said Rebecca Cunningham, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at UNT Health Sciences Center. But that’s not the case for Mexican Americans, who do not appear to be affected by oxidative stress.
The findings, published in the April issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, could lead to a better understanding of the role ethnicity plays in brain diseases and cognition.
"Different factors appear to drive dementia," Cunningham said. "And these factors are dependent on the ethnicity of the person."
Oxidative stress, which can determine whether testosterone protects brains cells or damages them, occurs when there are more free radicals produced in the body than antioxidants. Many studies have found between 20 percent and 30 percent of aging men have no response or a negative response to testosterone therapy.
"Our study shows that these negative effects occur only in Caucasian men with high oxidative stress," Dr. Cunningham said.
Testosterone therapy can improve libido, but it’s not beneficial across the board.
"I would tell Caucasian men to be cautious about taking testosterone, especially if their oxidative stress levels are high," Dr. Cunningham said.
A blood test for oxidative stress, such as homocysteine, can help physicians determine who is a good candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.
Mexican American men appear to be protected from the deleterious effects, possibly because of higher levels of endogenous antioxidants, which are produced inside the body and act as its own line of defense against free radicals.
By Jan Jarvis S. Suresh Madhavan had just earned an MBA and was working at a good job in India when he made a decision that changed the course of his career. “I felt unfulfilled so I decided to come to the United States,” he said. “It was really out of a sense of adventure more than anyt...Read more
Apr 24, 2019
By Alex Branch Dr. Mindy Hansen’s path to becoming the top osteopathic resident physician in the United States started on the basketball hardwood in frigid Minnesota. A four-year shooting guard at the University of Minnesota, she loved being active, using her hands. She spent 15 years af...Read more
Apr 24, 2019
By Sally Crocker Dr. Witold Migala is ready to hit the road again. The epidemiologist who has traveled the world helping people from Haiti and Madagascar to Nigeria and beyond has lived, worked or experienced more than 75 countries during his lifetime. He was in the first UNT Health Sci...Read more
Apr 24, 2019
By Betsy Friauf E-Eycling Event Date: Tuesday, April 23 Time: 7:30-10:30 a.m. Location: Loading dock of the Medical Education and Training Building (near intersection of Bunting and Haskell avenues) Free to the public and the UNTHSC campus Get a free reusable straw set ...Read more
Apr 22, 2019