Revisiting the role of testosterone: Are we missing something?

Rev Urol. 2017;19(1):16-24. doi: 10.3909/riu0716.


Testosterone is a pleiotropic hormone that plays an important role in the human body. Classically, testosterone was thought to be predominantly involved in androgenesis and physiology in boys and men. Through its conversion to estrogen, testosterone affects bone health, including bone density. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in the systemic role of testosterone in pain, well-being, and cardiovascular function in women and men alike. In this review, we discuss the historic significance of testosterone, its traditionally known physiology, and its molecular and cellular effects. We also discuss evidence for testosterone's lesser known effects, including its role in women's health. We suggest a need to revisit the clinical role of testosterone given its potential for applications to treat mood, cognitive health, and other illnesses, and its anabolic role in bone and muscle; we also suggest consideration of the current debate on risks of its use.

Keywords: Coronary heart disease; Testosterone; Testosterone replacement therapy.