European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 289–295 | Cite as

Endogenous testosterone and the prospective association with carotid atherosclerosis in men: the Tromsø study

  • T. Vikan
  • S. H. Johnsen
  • H. Schirmer
  • I. Njølstad
  • J. Svartberg
Cardiovascular Disease


The role of testosterone in the development of cardiovascular disease is controversial. Recent observational studies, however, suggest a protective role of normal endogenous testosterone levels in the development of atherosclerosis. In a cohort from the Tromsø study, 1,101 men had both hormone-levels measured and the right carotid artery examined by ultrasound in 1994 and 2001. We studied the prospective association between sex hormone-levels and progression of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque area from 1994 to 2001. We also performed a cross-sectional study of 2,290 men from the population in 2001. The data were analysed by univariate correlations, analyses of covariance and multiple linear regression analyses. In the cross-sectional study, we found an inverse association between testosterone levels and total carotid plaque area (P < 0.05), after adjusting for age, systolic blood pressure, smoking and use of lipid-lowering drugs. We found no prospective associations between sex hormone-levels and change in plaque area or IMT from 1994 to 2001. The lack of prospective associations in our study may be due to increased use of anti-hypertensive and lipid-lowering drugs from 1994 baseline to follow-up.


Prospective Cross-sectional Intima-media thickness Plaque area Atherosclerosis Testosterone 



Body mass index


Common carotid artery


High density lipid cholesterol


Intima media thickness


Sex hormone-binding globulin


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Vikan
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. H. Johnsen
    • 1
    • 3
  • H. Schirmer
    • 4
    • 5
  • I. Njølstad
    • 4
  • J. Svartberg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  4. 4.Institute of Community MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  5. 5.Department of CardiologyUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway

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