Effects of testosterone and resistance training in men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Oct 15;170(8):870-8. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200305-617OC. Epub 2004 Jul 21.


Dysfunction of the muscles of ambulation contributes to exercise intolerance in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Men with COPD have high prevalence of low testosterone levels, which may contribute to muscle weakness. We determined effects of testosterone supplementation (100 mg of testosterone enanthate injected weekly) with or without resistance training (45 minutes three times weekly) on body composition and muscle function in 47 men with COPD (mean FEV(1) = 40% predicted) and low testosterone levels (mean = 320 ng/dl). Subjects were randomized to 10 weeks of placebo injections + no training, testosterone injections + no training, placebo injections + resistance training, or testosterone injections + resistance training. Testosterone injections yielded a mean increase of 271 ng/dl in the nadir serum testosterone concentration (to the middle of the normal range for young men). The lean body mass (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) increase averaged 2.3 kg with testosterone alone and 3.3 kg with combined testosterone and resistance training (p < 0.001). Increase in one-repetition maximum leg press strength averaged 17.2% with testosterone alone, 17.4% with resistance training alone, and 26.8% with testosterone + resistance training (p < 0.001). Interventions were well tolerated with no abnormalities in safety measures. Further studies are required to determine long-term benefits of adding testosterone supplementation and resistance training to rehabilitative programs for carefully screened men with COPD and low testosterone levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Testosterone
  • testosterone enanthate