Gonadal status and physical performance in older men

Aging Male. 2011 Mar;14(1):42-7. doi: 10.3109/13685538.2010.518179. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


Objective: To test the relationship between gonadal status and objective measures and determinants of physical performance in older men and their determinants.

Methods: The study included 455 ≥ 65 year older men of InCHIANTI study, Italy, with complete data on testosterone levels, hand grip strength, cross-sectional muscle area (CSMA), short physical performance battery (SPPB). Linear models were used to test the relationship between gonadal status and determinants of physical performance.

Results: Three different groups of older men were created: (1) severely hypogonadal (N=23), total testosterone levels ≤ 230 ng /dl; (2) moderately hypogonadal (N=88), total testosterone >230 and < 350 ng/dl) and (3) eugonadal (N=344), testosterone levels ≥ 350 ng/dl. With increased severity of hypogonadal status, participants were significantly older while their BMI was substantially similar. In the age and BMI adjusted analysis, there was a significant difference in haemoglobin levels, hand grip strength and SPPB score (p for trend < 0.001) among three groups, with severely hypogonadal men having lower values of haemoglobin, muscle strength and physical performance. We found no association between testosterone group assignment and calf muscle mass and 4 m walking speed. In the multivariate analysis grip strength (p for trend = 0.004) and haemoglobin (p for trend < 0.0001) but not SPPB and other determinants of physical performance were significantly different between the three groups.

Conclusions: In older men, gonadal status is independently associated with some determinants (haemoglobin and muscle strength) of physical performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Androgens / blood*
  • Exercise Test
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / epidemiology*
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / analysis
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Men's Health*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Androgens
  • Hemoglobins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Testosterone