Introduction: Testosterone undecanoate (T) treatment is common in female-to-male transsexuals (FtMs) but can induce impairment of mitochondrial function and oxidative stress.
Aim: The effect of T treatment on the mitochondrial function and redox state of leukocytes of FtMs subjects was evaluated.
Methods: This was an observational study conducted in a university hospital. Fifty-seven FtMs were treated with T (1,000 mg) for 12 weeks, after which anthropometric and metabolic parameters and mitochondrial function were evaluated.
Main outcome measures: Anthropometric and metabolic parameters were evaluated. Mitochondrial function was studied by assessing mitochondrial oxygen (O2) consumption, membrane potential, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, glutathione levels (GSH), and the reduced glutathione/oxidized glutathione (GSH)/(GSSG) ratio in polymorphonuclear cells.
Results: T treatment led to mitochondrial impairment in FtMs as a result of a decrease in mitochondria O2 consumption, the membrane potential, GSH levels, and the (GSH)/(GSSG) ratio and an increase in ROS production. Mitochondrial O2 consumption and membrane potential negatively correlated with T levels, which was further confirmed that the T treatment had induced mitochondrial dysfunction. T also produced a significant increase in total testosterone, free androgenic index, and atherogenic index of plasma, and a decrease in sex hormone-binding globulin and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Conclusions: Treatment of FtMs with T can induce impairment of mitochondrial function and a state of oxidative stress. This effect should be taken into account in order to modulate possible comorbidities in these patients.
Keywords: Gender Dysphoria; Hormone Therapy in Female-to-Male Transsexuals; Leukocytes; Mitochondria; Oxidative Stress; Testosterone; Transsexuals.
© 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine.