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Effects of exogenous testosterone supplementation in gonadotrophin stimulated cycles.

Author(s): Sipe CS, Thomas MR, Stegmann BJ, Van Voorhis BJ

Affiliation(s): Fertility Centers of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60610, USA.

Publication date & source: 2010-03, Hum Reprod., 25(3):690-6. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: Various experiments suggest that ovarian follicular recruitment and growth may be increased by testosterone priming. Our aim was to determine the effects of exogenous testosterone supplementation in older women on ovarian folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis. METHODS: A prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study was carried out. Twelve regularly menstruating non-obese women aged 38-45 years received a 12-day course of transdermal testosterone (2.5 mg per patch) or placebo patch, followed by 7 days of gonadotrophin stimulation. After at least a 1 month washout period, subjects underwent the same protocol using the opposite treatment. The main outcomes were follicular development (ultrasound measures) and hormone levels. RESULTS: Following gonadotrophin stimulation, there were no differences in average number of follicles over 10 mm diameter in cycles pre-treated with testosterone versus placebo [2.10 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11, 3.22) versus 2.08 (95% CI 1.03, 3.14), P = 0.55]. No crossover, period (first or second test) or sequence (order of treatment) effects were noted. As expected, total and free testosterone levels were increased following testosterone treatment (312.7 +/- 122.4 versus 12.3 +/- 4.5 ng/dl and 45.5+/- 16.7 versus 1.4 +/- 0.5 ng/dl, respectively, P < 0.001) but no differences in free or total testosterone were noted by period. LH, FSH, estradiol and antral follicle counts before gonadotrophin stimulation were not altered by testosterone pretreatment or by period. CONCLUSIONS: Despite increased testosterone levels, a short course of androgens had no significant effect on the number of follicles over 10 mm during stimulation with FSH in women of late reproductive age.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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