Dihydrotestosterone treatment in adolescents with delayed puberty: does it explain insulin resistance of puberty?

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Oct;86(10):4881-6. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.10.7913.


Puberty is characterized by temporary insulin resistance, which subsides with the completion of pubertal development. This insulin resistance is manifested by lower rates of insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism and compensatory hyperinsulinemia in pubertal compared with prepubertal children. Whether or not pubertal insulin resistance is the result of sex steroids or GH or a combination of both has been investigated in our laboratory. Previously, we demonstrated that T treatment in adolescents with delayed puberty was not associated with the deterioration of insulin action. The present investigation evaluated the effects of 4 months of dihydrotestosterone administration (50 mg im every 2 wk) on body composition, glucose, fat, and protein metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. Ten adolescents with delayed puberty were evaluated before and after 4 months of DHT administration. Body composition was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism was measured during a 3-h hyperinsulinemic (40 mU/m(2).min)-euglycemic clamp procedure. Lipolysis and proteolysis were evaluated by stable isotopes of [(2)H(5)]glycerol and [1-(13)C]leucine. After 4 months of dihydrotestosterone treatment, height, weight, and fat free mass increased and percentage of body fat decreased. IGF-I and nocturnal GH levels did not change. There was no significant change in insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism (57.2 +/- 3.9 vs. 58.3 +/- 3.9 micromol/kg.min). Total body proteolysis and lipolysis did not change. In summary, based on the present and past studies, we conclude that during puberty insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia is not attributable to gonadal sex steroids in boys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Dihydrotestosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Estradiol / physiology
  • Fats / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Human Growth Hormone / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Puberty, Delayed / drug therapy*
  • Puberty, Delayed / metabolism


  • Fats
  • Lipids
  • Proteins
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Estradiol
  • Glucose