Elderly men have low levels of anti-Müllerian hormone and inhibin B, but with high interpersonal variation: a cross-sectional study of the sertoli cell hormones in 615 community-dwelling men

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 5;8(8):e70967. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070967. Print 2013.

Abstract

The Sertoli cells of the testes secrete anti-Müllerian hormone (Müllerian inhibiting Substance, AMH) and inhibin B (InhB). AMH triggers the degeneration of the uterine precursor in male embryos, whereas InhB is part of the gonadal-pituitary axis for the regulation of sperm production in adults. However, both hormones are also putative regulators of homeostasis, and age-related changes in these hormones may therefore be important to the health status of elderly men. The levels of AMH in elderly men are unknown, with limited information being available about age-related changes in InhB. We have therefore used ELISAs to measure Sertoli cell hormone levels in 3 cohorts of community-dwelling men in New Zealand. In total, 615 men were examined, 493 of which were aged 65 or older. Serum AMH and InhB levels inversely correlated with age in men older than 50 years (p<0.001) but not in the younger men. A minority of elderly men had undetectable levels of AMH and InhB. The variation in hormone levels between similarly aged men increased with the age of men. AMH and InhB partially correlated with each other as expected (r = 0.48, p<0.001). However, the ratio of the two Sertoli hormones varied significantly between men, with this variation increasing with age. Elderly men selected for the absence of cardiovascular disease had AMH levels similar to those of young men whereas their InhB levels did not differ from aged-matched controls. These data suggests that Sertoli cell number and function changes with age, but with the extent and nature of the changes varying between men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Inhibins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sertoli Cells / metabolism*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • inhibin B
  • Inhibins
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone

Grant support

This study was funded by the following sources: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand; Health Research Council of New Zealand; Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, New Zealand; Oakley Mental Health Foundation, New Zealand; National Heart Foundation, New Zealand; and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.