Low Testosterone Levels Could Put Men At Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Scientists have long been aware that males with low levels of testosterone are more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. The manner in which testosterone enables the male body to fight off diabetes has been uncertain until now, according to a new study conducted by Tulane University researchers.

Researchers now believe that testosterone allows males to regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The results of the study could lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

"We've shown that testosterone acts as an anti-diabetic hormone in men," said Dr. Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, senior author of the study. "If we can harness its beneficial effects without side effects, we can help prevent diabetes in men with testosterone deficiency."

Male treatment

Previous studies believed the link between low testosterone and diabetes was due to excess abdominal fat. In this new research, male mice were bred with pancreatic insulin-producing cells deficient in androgen receptors for testosterone. Because they weren’t able to produce insulin, the mice then developed diabetes.

Researchers hope the new discovery can be beneficial not only for women, but also for type 2 diabetic men over the age of 70 who often have low testosterone or prostate cancer - the treatment for which depleting testosterone levels is implemented by medical professionals.

"Men and women have different fine-tuning mechanisms that produce insulin," said Mauvais-Jarvis. "If we can better understand the molecular differences between the sexes, we can start to develop gender-specific medicine to better treat diseases like diabetes."

Source: The Times-Picayune

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