The serum level of free testosterone is reduced in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Alessandra Militello, Gaetano Vitello, Christian Lunetta, Antonio Toscano, Gianni Maiorana, Tommaso Piccoli, Vincenzo La Bella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting upper and lower motoneurons. There is an approximately 2:1 higher incidence of ALS in men compared to women, and this has raised the hypothesis of an involvement of sex hormones in the etiopathogenesis of the disorder. In this work, the serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), 17-βestradiol, free and total testosterone were measured in 35 patients with defined or probable ALS, according to the El-Escorial/WFN revisited criteria, and compared to those obtained from 57 disease controls, matched for age and gender to the ALS group. We found no differences between ALS cases and disease controls in the serum levels of DHEAS, 17-βestradiol and total testosterone. Conversely, free testosterone was significantly decreased in the ALS group. Given that testosterone crosses the blood-brain barrier only as unbound form, we suggest a possible involvement of this sex hormone in the pathophysiology of this severe motor neuron disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-70
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2002


  • 17-βestradiol
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate
  • Motoneurons
  • Sex hormone binding globulin
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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