In healthy men, a decrease in plasma testosterone levels was observed in the context of metabolic stress. While physiological mechanisms underlying this response are unclear, there are several lines of evidence suggesting circulating epinephrine's influence on plasma testosterone levels. The purpose of this study was to directly relate stress-induced changes in plasma testosterone and epinephrine. The stressor used was blockade of glucose metabolism with pharmacological doses (40mg/kg) of 2 deoxyglucose (2DG). Arterial plasma samples from 10 healthy males were assayed at 20 minutes intervals for 60 minutes for the concentrations of testosterone, epinephrine and related biochemicals. Bolus administration of 2DG resulted in progressive decline in testosterone and increases in epinephrine and norepinephrine plasma levels (mean change from baseline: 29, 2530 and 186%, respectively). Inverse correlation was detected between both absolute (rs=-0.72; df=8; p=0.017) and baseline-corrected testosterone concentrations at the 60 minute time point and epinephrine area under the curve values. Our results suggest that adrenomedullary activation may be involved in stress-induced testosterone effects. The implications of these data for the understanding of the role of catecholamines in glucoprivic stress response are discussed.
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