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Alcohol's effects on testosterone

  • Most research has shown that alcohol inhibits testosterone secretion in male animals and humans.
  • A new study has found that acute administration of alcohol can increase testosterone biosynthesis in some male rodents.
  • These results provide evidence for individual differences in behavioral reactions to alcohol.

Even though testosterone is often referred to as a "male sex hormone," it is in actuality common to both genders of animals and humans. The overwhelming majority of research conducted in the past 25 years in both animals and humans has found that alcohol inhibits testosterone secretion. However, a new study in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that acute administration of alcohol can induce a rapid increase in plasma and brain concentrations of testosterone in some rodents.

"We have demonstrated that there are very different results in the way two different groups of male rats form testosterone after acute administration of alcohol," said Robert H. Purdy, senior staff scientist in the department of neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute and senior author of the study. "These differences in animals may reflect similar individual differences in humans, and provide new insights for understanding individual differences in the behavioral and endocrine pathology associated with alcohol abuse."

Researchers injected either alcohol or 1,1-dideuteroethanol (2 g alcohol/kg body weight) into the abdominal cavities of two groups of rats, 30 un-operated and 24 adrenalectomized and castrated (ADX/GDX) Wistar males. 1,1-dideuteroethanol is a nonradioactive form of alcohol in which two of the hydrogen atoms on carbon atom #1 of ethanol have been replaced by deuterium atoms, which can then be traced. Study authors used mass spectrometry, a very precise measure of the mass and structure of compounds derived from extracts of tissues and body fluids, to determine b
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14-Jan-2003


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