Context Low testosterone levels are associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular (CV) events, but the underlying biochemical mechanisms are not fully understood. The clinical condition of hypogonadism offers a unique model to unravel the possible role of lipoprotein-associated abnormalities in CV risk. In particular, the assessment of the functional capacities of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) may provide insights besides traditional risk factors. Design To determine whether reduced testosterone levels correlate with lipoprotein function, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) efflux capacity (CEC) and serum cholesterol loading capacity (CLC). Participants Genetic and idiopathic hypogonadal patients (n = 20) and control subjects (n = 17). Results Primary and secondary hypogonadal patients presented with lower HDL ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1)-, ATP-binding cassette transporter G1 (ABCG1)-, and aqueous diffusion-mediated CEC (-19.6%, -40.9%, and -12.9%, respectively), with a 16.2% decrement of total CEC. In the whole series, positive correlations between testosterone levels and both total HDL CEC (r 2 = 0.359, P = 0.0001) and ABCG1 HDL CEC (r 2 = 0.367, P = 0.0001) were observed. Conversely, serum CLC was markedly raised (+43%) in hypogonadals, increased, to a higher extent, in primary vs secondary hypogonadism (18.45 ± 2.78 vs 15.15 ± 2.10 μg cholesterol/mg protein) and inversely correlated with testosterone levels (r 2 = 0.270, P = 0.001). HDL-C concentrations did not correlate with either testosterone levels, HDL CEC (total, ABCG1, and ABCA1) or serum CLC. Conclusions In hypogonadal patients, proatherogenic lipoprotein-associated changes are associated with lower cholesterol efflux and increased influx, thus offering an explanation for a potentially increased CV risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical