Testosterone Increases Human Platelet Thromboxane A2 Receptor Density and Aggregation Responses
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Background The incidence of thrombotic cardiovascular disease is greater in men than in premenopausal women. Testosterone has been implicated as a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and for acute myocardial infarctions and strokes in young male athletes who abuse anabolic steroids. Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) is a vasoconstrictor and platelet proaggregatory agent that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. We therefore tested the hypothesis that testosterone regulates the expression of human platelet TXA2 receptors.
Methods and Results In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, parallel-group study, we determined the effects of testosterone cypionate 200 mg IM given twice, 2 weeks apart, or saline placebo in 16 healthy men. Platelet TXA2 receptor density (Bmax) and dissociation constant (Kd) were measured by use of the TXA2 mimetic 125I-BOP. Platelet aggregation responses to I-BOP and to thrombin and plasma testosterone concentrations were measured before treatment (pretreatment phase), at 2 and 4 weeks (active phase), and again at 8 weeks (recovery phase). Treatment with testosterone was associated with an increase in the Bmax value from 0.95±0.13 to 2.10±0.4 pmol/mg protein (n=9), with a peak effect at 4 weeks (P=.001), returning to baseline by 8 weeks. There was no significant change in Bmax values in the saline-treated group. The Kd values were unchanged. Testosterone treatment was associated with a significant increase in the maximum platelet aggregation response to I-BOP (P<.001) at 4 weeks and returned to baseline at 8 weeks. The EC50 values were not significantly changed. Platelet TXA2 receptor density was positively correlated (r=.56, P<.001, n=32 measurements) with pretreatment (endogenous) plasma testosterone levels (range, 215 to 883 ng/dL) but not Kd.
Conclusions Testosterone regulates the expression of platelet TXA2 receptors in humans. This may contribute to the thrombogenicity of androgenic steroids.
- Received October 10, 1994.
- Revision received November 21, 1994.
- Accepted December 3, 1994.
- Copyright © 1995 by American Heart Association