By Jimmy Downs
Thursday Oct 11, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- High levels of testosterone in men may explain why men are more likely than women to develop advanced liver disease like hepatitis C virus related advanced liver disease, according to a study in Hepatology.
The study led by Donna L. White at Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, TX and colleagues showed men with advanced fibrosis had significantly higher total serum testosterone, compared to controls with mild diseases.
The cross-sectional study involved 308 eligible male veterans with chronic hepatitis C virus whose blood samples were obtained to measure total serum testosterone. Of the subjects, 105 men were diagnosed with advanced fibrosis, 203 with mild fibrosis, 88 with advanced inflammatory activity and 220 with mild activity.
Mean total serum testosterone was found at 6.0 versus 5.3 ng/mL and 5.9 versus 5.4 ng/mL for men with advanced fibrosis, mild fibrosis, advanced inflammatory activity, and mild activity respectively.
Each 1-ng/mL increase in total serum testosterone was associated with 25 percent increased risk in advanced fibrosis and 15 percent increased risk in advanced inflammatory activity.
After adjustment for other risk factors, total testosterone in the upper tertile was correlated with 274 percent increased risk of advanced fibrosis and 123 percent increased risk for advanced inflammatory activity.
The researchers concluded "Total serum testosterone is associated with an increased risk of both advanced hepatic fibrosis and advanced hepatic inflammatory activity in HCV-infected men. Testosterone may be important in the pathogenesis of HCV-related advanced liver disease in males."
The study could not determine if having a high serum level of testosterone is a cause for or result from having advanced fibrosis or advanced inflammatory activity.