Androgen replacement therapy in Turner syndrome: a pilot study

Nehama Zuckerman-Levin, Tatiana Frolova-Bishara, Daniela Militianu, Moshe Levin, Judith Aharon-Peretz, Ze'ev Hochberg
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2009, 94 (12): 4820-7

CONTEXT: Women with Turner syndrome (TS) have reduced levels of androgens due to ovarian failure.

HYPOTHESES: Morbidity associated with TS, such as bone fragility, metabolic changes, obesity, neurocognitive profile, and sexual problems may partly relate to androgen insufficiency and improve on androgen replacement therapy (ART).

OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study was to determine the effect of androgens on morbidity in TS.

DESIGN: Fourteen TS women (aged 17-27 yr) participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot. The study was conducted in a hospital outpatient clinic between December 2001 and July 2004.

INTERVENTION: TS patients were on estrogen/progestin replacement therapy. Subjects received oral 1.5 mg methyl testosterone (ART) or placebo for 1 yr and the alternative for another year.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The study compared body composition as a primary outcome, and physiology, biochemistry, visceral fat, cognition, and quality of life (QOL) as secondary outcomes.

RESULTS: ART as compared with placebo reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It improved bone mineral density, increased lean body mass, and decreased fat mass. ART improved attention, reaction time, and verbal memory and had no effect on executive functions and spatial cognition. Patients reported improved QOL, including general health, coping with stress, and sexual desire.

CONCLUSIONS: Androgen insufficiency plays a role in TS-impaired body composition, neurocognition, and QOL, and these aspects improve with ART, which was safe and effective when given for 1 yr.

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