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DHEA and Testosterone Replacement in Elderly

This study has been completed.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Information provided by:
Mayo Clinic Identifier:
First received: November 14, 2005
Last updated: May 20, 2011
Last verified: May 2011

Sarcopenia is a major health problem among the rapidly expanding elderly population in our society. Disabilities directly related to muscle weakness, and indirectly related to changes in body composition and metabolic dysfunctions, are causing a staggering toll in disability and health care costs.

Osteopenia occurs almost simultaneously with sarcopenia in the elderly population and muscle weakness increases the risk for falls and therefore, fractures. Although these issues have been separate addressed in several studies, an integrated investigational approach to better understand the pathogenesis of sarcopenia and other age-related metabolic abnormalities and to investigate the potential role of androgens have not been undertaken in a comprehensive manner.

The program contains four independent research programs, each representing different research disciplines, and four separate cores supporting the four projects.

The main focus of the project is to determine the effect of the replacement of testosterone in elderly men and DHEA in elderly men and women and to compare these effects with placebo treatment over a two-year period.

Project 1, "Effect of Androgen Replacement on Muscle Metabolism" will specifically determine whether these interventions have a differential effect on size and quality of muscle in terms of strength and metabolic functions. Project 2, "Effect of Androgen Replacement on Bone Metabolism," will determine the effects of this intervention on bone mineral density and markers of bone turnover.

Project 3, "The Effect of Androgen Replacement on Carbohydrate Metabolism," will determine whether the age-associated decrease in circulating androgens contributes to the alterations in carbohydrate metabolism that are commonly observed in the elderly and on insulin action, insulin secretion, and glucose effectiveness.

Project 4, "Effect of Androgen Replacement on Fat Metabolism" will determine whether changes in fat distribution that occur with aging could result from differences in regional fatty acid uptake and systemic fatty acid kinetics, and whether these determinants of fat distribution are altered by the interventions.

The data emerging from these studies will be integrated to determine the intervention of sarcopenia with other metabolic changes and hopefully will contribute to a better understanding of muscle, bone, carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

This study will hopefully form the scientific basis for future trials of androgen replacement in the elderly.

Condition Intervention
Low DHEA for Women
Low Testosterone and DHEA for Men
Procedure: Androgen Replacement

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double-Blind
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Pathogenesis of Sarcopenia and Metabolic Changes in Aging

Further study details as provided by Mayo Clinic:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • physical performance (VO2 peak, muscle strength as measured by chest press, double knee extension, and isokinetic knee extension
  • body composition (fat percent, fat free mass, abdominal visceral fat, and thigh muscle area)
  • bone parameters (BMD of ultradistal radius, femur neck, femur total and anterior-posterior of L2-L4 spine
  • fasting plasma insulin and glucose

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • quality of life
  • glucose and insulin after mixed meal
  • muscle protein synthesis
  • hormone levels
  • prostate size

Estimated Enrollment: 150
Study Start Date: July 1998
Study Completion Date: February 2007
Primary Completion Date: February 2007 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion criteria:

bioavailable testosterone less than 103 nanogram/dl and DHEA-S level less than 157 microgram/dl for men; DHEA-S less than 95 microgram/dl for women;

Exclusion criteria:

significant ischemic heart disease, renal disease, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes mellitus, malignancy, malabsorption, bone disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or sleep apnea.

Others exclusion criteria include abnormal serum calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, asparate aminotransferase, creatinine, urinary calcium, thyroid stimulating hormone, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

People taking medication that may affect outcome measures such as adrenal steroids, anticonvulsant therapy thiazide diuretics, and estrogen replacement were also excluded. People engaged in a regular exercise program lasting more than 20 minutes more than two times per week and those men whose PSA level (age adjusted upper limit) were also excluded.

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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00254371

United States, Minnesota
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota, United States, 55905
Sponsors and Collaborators
Mayo Clinic
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal Investigator: K. Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., Ph.D. Mayo Clinic