Androgens are important regulators of bone and prostate health in elderly men. The role of serum levels of glucuronidated androgen metabolites as predictors of BMD and prostate volume in men is unclear. We show that specific glucuronidated androgen metabolites predict BMD and prostate volume in elderly men.
Introduction: Androgens are important regulators of bone and prostate health in elderly men. Local synthesis and degradation of androgens are likely to be important parameters of biological action of androgens in androgen-responsive tissues. The aim of this study was to determine the role of serum levels of glucuronidated androgen metabolites as predictors of BMD and prostate volume in elderly men.
Materials and Methods: A subsample of the population-based Swedish part of the MrOS study (n = 631, average age = 75.9 years) was investigated. Bone parameters were measured using DXA. Serum levels of total testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) were measured by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC-MS); androstane-3α,17β-diol-3glucuronide (3G) and androstane-3α,17β-diol-17glucuronide (17G) were measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy. Prostate volume (n = 159) was measured by transrectal ultrasound.
Results: The general pattern is that two of the glucuronidated androgen metabolites, namely 17G and 3G, are stronger positive predictors of BMD than the bioactive androgens (T and DHT). In addition, 17G is a clear positive predictor of prostate volume, explaining 4.5% of the variance in prostate volume, whereas the bioactive androgens do not display any association with prostate volume.
Conclusions: Serum levels of specific glucuronidated androgen metabolites predict BMD and prostate volume in elderly men. Future studies should determine if the glucuronidated androgen metabolites also reflect other biological correlates of androgenic activity, including prostate cancer, and if low levels might be a marker of general androgen deficiency in men.