Serum androgen levels in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: Relationship to pubertal stage and metabolic control
Delayed sexual maturation is still frequently seen in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. A close relationship between insulin and androgen metabolism has been found in a number of studies. Our study was designed to investigate whether or not abnormalities in androgen secretion could play a role in the onset of sexual maturation in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. We have asked whether or not there was a correlation between daily insulin dosage, duration of diabetes, metabolic control, age, pubertal stage, and body mass index (BMI) versus serum androgen concentrations. Basal total and free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and 3α-androstanediol glucuronide (3αdiol-G) plasma concentrations were measured in 36 pubertal boys and 31 pubertal girls with type 1 diabetes and in 59 sex- and pubertal stage-matched control subjects without diabetes. Significantly higher serum total testosterone (p<0.01) and free testosterone (p<0.05) levels were found in females and males with type 1 diabetes than in controls at pubertal stage 5. DHEA-S, SHBG, DHT and 3αdiol G concentrations in patients with diabetes were not significantly different from those in controls. There was no correlation between daily insulin requirements and serum androgen levels. These data suggest that adolescents with diabetes have similar serum levels of DHEA-S, SHBG, DHT and 3αdiol G as healthy subjects at all stages of puberty. However, there are significant differences in serum testosterone and free testosterone levels in adolescents with diabetes when compared to healthy, sex- and pubertal stage-matched controls in late puberty. We hypothesize that the increased testosterone levels in patients with diabetes could relate to reduced fertility in females, disorders of sexual maturation and an increased risk for cardiovascular complications later in life.
Key wordsDiabetes type 1 androgens puberty testosterone sex hormone binding globuline 3α-androstanediol-glucuronide dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate dihydrotestosterone
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