Testosterone Levels Following Decreases in Serum Osteocalcin
Bolland MJ, Grey A, Horne AM, Reid IR. Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Apr 19. [Epub ahead of print]


Bone and Joint Research Group, Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92 019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand, m.bolland@auckland.ac.nz.


Recent preclinical studies suggest that osteoblasts are able to induce testosterone production by the testis, a process mediated by osteocalcin. Bisphosphonates substantially reduce osteocalcin levels. If osteocalcin is an important regulator of testosterone levels in adult men, it would be expected that the substantial reductions in osteocalcin induced by zoledronate would impact negatively on testosterone levels. Previously, we carried out a 2-year randomized, controlled trial of annual 4 mg zoledronate in 43 HIV-infected men. To explore the relationship between osteocalcin and testosterone further, we measured serum testosterone at baseline, 3 months, and 2 years; luteinizing hormone at 3 months and 2 years; and total osteocalcin at 2 years in 28 trial participants with available blood samples. At 2 years, total osteocalcin was 39 % lower in the zoledronate group than the placebo group (zoledronate mean 10.1 [SD 3.0] μg/L, placebo 16.5 [SD 4.9] μg/L, P = 0.003). Despite these substantial differences in osteocalcin levels, testosterone levels did not change over time in either group and there were no between-group differences over time, P = 0.4 (mean change at 2 years [adjusted for baseline levels] in zoledronate group -0.4 nmol/L, 95 % CI -2.5 to 1.6; placebo group 0.4 nmol/L, 95 % CI -1.6 to 2.5). Luteinizing hormone was within the normal range and did not differ between the groups at either 3 months or 2 years. Thus, the absence of a change in testosterone despite a substantial reduction in osteocalcin following zoledronate treatment argues against a biologically significant role for osteocalcin in the regulation of testosterone in adult men. This provides reassurance that men receiving potent antiresorptive drugs are not at risk of iatrogenic hypogonadism.