Objective: Quantitative CT is a powerful tool that may be used to assess distribution of adipose and lean mass and bone mineral density in specific anatomic compartments. Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism) is increasingly recognized in adult men and is associated with osteoporosis, diminished strength, and an increase in cardiovascular risk. We used quantitative CT to determine whether hypogonadism is associated with fat redistribution and altered bone density.
Subjects and methods: Quantitative CT was performed at the level of the L4 vertebra in 26 men with adult onset testosterone deficiency and 17 eugonadal men of similar body mass index and age. Adipose area in the subcutaneous, visceral, and skeletal muscle areas was determined and trabecular bone density was measured. Values between the groups were compared using t tests.
Results: The ages of the hypogonadal and eugonadal men were 52 +/- 14 years and 51 +/- 8 years (p value not significant), respectively. Subcutaneous fat area was higher in the testosterone-deficient men than in the control subjects (270 +/- 101 cm2 versus 202 +/- 111 cm2; p = .046). Muscle fat area was higher in the hypogonadal men (6 +/- 3 cm2 versus 2 +/- 1 cm2; p = .001). Measurements of visceral fat were similar for both groups. Trabecular bone density was lower in the hypogonadal than in the eugonadal men (112 +/- 38 mg K2HPO4/dl versus 148 +/- 34 mg K2HPO4/dl, respectively; p = .003).
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that testosterone deficiency is associated with a decrease in bone density and a redistribution of fat. Quantitative CT is a sensitive method that may be useful in determining alterations in regional adipose deposition in hypogonadal men and in evaluating the benefit of interventional therapy such as testosterone replacement.