The effect of testosterone supplement on insulin sensitivity, glucose effectiveness, and acute insulin response after glucose load in male type 2 diabetics

Endocr Res. 2005;31(2):139-48. doi: 10.1080/07435800500320653.


Our understanding of the effect of androgens on insulin action and glucose metabolism is incomplete. Several different models and methods have been used to study androgen effects, with some studies indicating that higher testosterone levels are associated with increased insulin resistance. In polycystic ovary syndrome, where high testosterone levels are frequently found, affected patients have a higher risk of diabetes. In contrast, increased insulin resistance was found in both hypergonadotropic and hypogonadotropic men with hypoandrogenism, patients with Klinefelter's syndrome and men with idiopathic gonadotropin deficiency. Insulin resistance is considered to be one of the cornerstones in the state that ultimately leads to clinically established type 2 diabetes mellitus. In addition, men with type 2 diabetes have relative hypogonadism. Therefore, supplementation with testosterone might play a role in improving both insulin resistance and hypogonadism. The study population consisted of 11 male patients with type 2 diabetes. Their mean age was 57.7 +/- 3.41 years, the body mass index (BMI) was 24.4 +/- 1.02 kg/m2, and the waist-to-hip ratio (W/H) was 0.91 +/- 0.05. The patients were all treated with oral hypoglycemic agents. The men received androgen injections every 3 weeks intramuscularly for 12 weeks. The injections were testosterone depot 100 mg/3 weeks. Insulin sensitivity, glucose effectiveness and area under acute insulin response were calculated from "minimal model" algorithms. There were no significant differences in the value of BMI, W/H ratios, plasma lipid concentrations, testosterone, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) of insulin sensitivity, and beta-cell function, before and after supplementation of testosterone. Furthermore, the insulin sensitivity (SI) (1.04 +/- 0.25, 1.11 +/- 0.36 x 10(-5) min(-1/)pM; p = 0.43), glucose effectiveness (EG) (0.018 +/- 0.003, 0.017 +/- 0.002 min(-1); p = 0.29), and acute insulin response (AIR) after a glucose load (45.7 +/- 24.3, 50.1 +/- 32.5 pM; p = 0.45) did not change significantly after supplmentation with testosterone. In our study, there was no improvement of SI, EG, and AIR after 3 months of Testosterone Depot treatment in type 2 diabetes, but we believe that duration and dosage of the androgen therapy might play an important role in improving insulin sensitivity. The mechanisms by which testosterone causes insulin resistance is unknown, and larger studies on androgen treatment in type 2 diabetic patients are necessary.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Testosterone / pharmacology
  • Testosterone / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Insulin
  • Testosterone
  • Glucose