Antonio Cittadini, Andrea M Isidori, Andrea Salzano

Jul 22, 2021
Cardiovascular research
Since it was first synthesised in 1935, testosterone (T) has been viewed as the mythical Fountain of Youth, promising rejuvenation, restoring sexual appetites, growing stronger muscles, and quicker thinking. T is endowed with direct effects on myocardial and vascular structure and function, as well as on risk factors for cardiovascular (CV) disease. Indeed, low serum T levels are a risk factor for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and dyslipidaemia. Moreover, many studies have shown that T deficiency per se is an independent risk factor of CV and all-cause mortality. On this background and due to direct-to-patient marketing by drug companies, we have witnessed to the widespread use of T replacement therapy (TT) without clear indications particularly in late-life onset hypogonadism. The current review will dwell upon current evidence and controversies surrounding the role of T in the pathophysiology of CV diseases, the link between circulating T levels and CV risk, and the use of replacing T as a possible adjuvant treatment in specific CV disorders. Specifically, recent findings suggest that heart failure and type 2 diabetes mellitus represent two potential targets of T therapy once that a state of hypogonadism is diagnosed. However, only if ongoing studies solve the CV safety issue the T orchid may eventually 'bloom'.
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