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BACKGROUND: Men and women are differently affected by coronary artery disease, suggesting an important role of sex steroids. Moreover, testosterone (T) treatment is increasingly used in elderly males. Therefore, we examined effects of chronic anabolic T administration on left ventricular (LV) remodeling after myocardial infarction (MI). METHODS: Adult male rats were treated with intramuscular placebo, testosterone undecanoate (T), or were orchiectomized. After 2 weeks, animals underwent sham-operation (sham) or left coronary artery ligation. Left ventricular remodeling and function was assessed by serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at weeks 2 and 8 and hemodynamic investigation at week 8. RESULTS: In sham operated animals T administration increased serum T levels and led to cardiac hypertrophy, but not to an upregulation of ANP mRNA. The alpha/beta-MHC ratio was significantly higher after T treatment due to an increase in alpha-MHC. As a potential mechanism for this "physiologic" form of hypertrophy, IGF-1 mRNA expression was significantly increased in T treated animals. After coronary artery ligation, infarct size and mortality were similar among the groups. Left ventricular hypertrophy was enhanced by T treatment. However, in vivo LV end-diastolic pressure and wall stress were decreased by T, whereas other hemodynamic parameters (mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, etc.) remained unchanged. CONCLUSION: Chronic anabolic T treatment led to a specific "physiologic" pattern of myocardial hypertrophy with a significant increase in LV weight, but without differences in ANP and with an upregulation in alpha/beta-MHC, possibly mediated by IGF-1. Testosterone treatment had no detrimental effects following MI. Reduced wall stress and LVEDP may even improve long-term outcome.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiovasc Res

Publication Date





370 - 378


Animals, Gene Expression Regulation, Hemodynamics, Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine, Male, Myocardial Infarction, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Testosterone, Ventricular Remodeling