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Current Sexual Health Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 5–11 | Cite as

Iron and Testosterone: Interplay and Clinical Implications

Male Sexual Dysfunction and Disorders (A Pastuszak and T Köhler, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Male Sexual Dysfunction and Disorders

Abstract

Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to investigate the crosstalk between testosterone and iron metabolism in men and discuss the clinical implications.

Recent Findings

Testosterone directly regulates body iron levels through inhibition of the master regulator of iron metabolism, hepcidin.

Summary

There is significant overlap between the side effects of exogenous testosterone administration and iron overload. Testosterone increases dietary iron absorption, providing a direct link between the two. As the body is unable to eliminate excess iron, a negative feedback mechanism allowing iron to inhibit testosterone production to maintain body iron homeostasis is proposed. This review discusses the recent data demonstrating the regulation of body iron stores by testosterone, as well as data suggesting testosterone may be reciprocally regulated by iron. Crosstalk between testosterone and iron has significant implications in testosterone deficiency and therapy. Additionally, the regulation of testosterone by iron may indicate a significant role for iron in the development of the hypogonadotropic hypogonadism of aging and chronic disease.

Keywords

Testosterone Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism Iron Hepcidin Hereditary hemochromatosis Beta thalassemia 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Joseph S. Gabrielsen has declared no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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