Androgen receptor gene polymorphism and sexual function in midlife women
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To assess the impact of serum androgen levels and androgen receptor CAG polymorphism on sexual function in 45 healthy midlife women living in a heterosexual relationship.
Cross-sectional study [Cantonal Ethics Committee Bern (Ref.-Nr. KEK-BE: 087/13)]. Main outcome measures: Association between androgen serum levels, androgen receptor CAG polymorphism and sexual function was assessed by the FSFI-d questionnaire.
In our cohort of healthy, midlife, well-educated, middle-class, mostly postmenopausal women living in a heterosexual satisfying partnership, sexual function was perceived to remain stable or to decline during menopausal transition with sexual desire scoring lowest (FSFI-d 3.3 ± 0.9). Androgen serum levels did not correlate with sexual function. Mean CAG repeat number was 21.6 ± 1.9. There was a highly inverse though non-significant correlation between female sexual function and AR CAG repeat polymorphism with specifically higher numbers of CAG repeats being significantly positively correlated to more frequent or more severe pain during or after sexual intercourse.
The AR polymorphism is a non-negligible factor in female sexual function. Future studies on female sexual (dys)function should incorporate its assessment.
KeywordsAndrogen receptor gene polymorphism CAG repeat Sexual function Libido Serum testosterone Healthy midlife women
The authors would like to thank D. Gafner and J. D. Wanner, study nurses, for their administrative assistance during the study. Furthermore, we would like to thank Unilabs SA, Bern, especially H. Frey and D. Gerber, for their financial and administrative support for blood chemistry analysis.
BS, MF, CH: data collection and manuscript writing; SS: providing the questionnaire about health, life satisfaction and sexuality in middle-aged women; MZ: protocol development, data analysis, and manuscript writing; PS: protocol/project development, funding, and manuscript writing.
Blood chemistry analysis was financially supported and performed by Unilabs SA, Bern.
Conflict of interest
B Sutter, M. Fehr, C. Hartmann, S. Schmid, M. Zitzmann and P. Stute declare to have no conflict of interest in context of this manuscript.
Due to the sensitive nature of the questions asked in this study, survey respondents were assured raw data would remain confidential and would not be shared.
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