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Abstract

A hypogonadic condition characterized by low serum testosterone levels has been identified in male patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Seven men with active RA were treated daily for 6 months with oral testosterone undecanoate plus a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug in an attempt to evaluate the immunologic response, the overall clinical response, and the sex hormone response to such replacement therapy. At the end of the 6 months, there was a significant increase in serum testosterone levels (P < 0.05), an increase in the number of CD8+ T cells, and a decrease in the CD4+ :CD8+ T cell ratio. The IgM rheumatoid factor concentration decreased significantly (P < 0.05). There was a concurrent significant reduction in the number of affected joints (P < 0.05) and in the daily intake of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (P < 0.01). The well-known immunosuppressive action of androgens probably contributed to our findings in these RA patients.