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The History of Testosterone and The Testes: From Antiquity to Modern Times

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Testosterone

Abstract

Extirpation and transplantation of endocrine glands are among the earliest tools in experimental endocrinology. The testes, with their exposed position, are vulnerable and easily accessible to external manipulation, including trauma and forceful removal. Thus, the effects of testosterone and its absence as a consequence of loss of the testes became known quite early in the history of mankind. Castration, leading to a loss of virility and fertility, has been used over centuries for punishment of criminal acts and high treason, for the creation of obedient slaves and servants and for preserving the prepubertal soprano voices for musical entertainment. Although the testes were correctly identified as the source of androgenicity, attempts to use them in organotherapy can only have led to placebo effects. Testosterone itself was isolated only in 1935 and, since then, has been available as a powerful medication for the treatment of hypogonadism. Only recently has it become possible to produce injectable or transdermal testosterone preparations generating serum levels in the physiological range.

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Nieschlag, E., Nieschlag, S. (2017). The History of Testosterone and The Testes: From Antiquity to Modern Times. In: Hohl, A. (eds) Testosterone. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46086-4_1

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