Androgens modulate beta-amyloid levels in male rat brain

J Neurochem. 2003 Nov;87(4):1052-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.02114.x.


As a normal consequence of aging, men experience a significant decline in androgen levels. Although the neural consequences of age-related androgen depletion remain unclear, recent evidence suggests a link between low androgen levels and the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we test the hypothesis that androgens act as endogenous modulators of beta-amyloid protein (Abeta) levels. To investigate this possibility, brain and plasma levels of Abeta were measured in male rats with varying hormonal conditions. Depletion of endogenous sex steroid hormones via gonadectomy (GDX) resulted in increased brain levels of Abeta in comparison to gonadally intact male rats. This GDX-induced increase in Abeta levels was reversed by DHT supplementation, demonstrating a functional role for androgens in modulating brain levels of Abeta. These findings suggest that age-related androgen depletion may result in accumulation of Abeta in the male brain and thereby act as a risk factor for the development of AD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / blood
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Androgens / administration & dosage
  • Androgens / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Dihydrotestosterone / administration & dosage
  • Drug Implants
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Septal Nuclei / cytology
  • Septal Nuclei / drug effects
  • Septal Nuclei / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Androgens
  • Drug Implants
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Estradiol