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September 1985

Lack of Relationship of Hypogonadism to Muscle Wasting in Myotonic Dystrophy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Griggs, Kingston, and Moxley and Ms Herr), Medicine (Drs Griggs and Kingston), and Pediatrics (Drs Griggs, Forbes, and Moxley), University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Arch Neurol. 1985;42(9):881-885. doi:10.1001/archneur.1985.04060080063017

• Myotonic dystrophy is frequently associated with testicular atrophy. Since androgens may play a role in the maintenance of muscle mass, we have studied the levels of plasma testosterone and gonadotropins and of urinary 17-ketosteroids in 22 men with myotonic dystrophy, 36 normal men, and 16 men (control group) with muscle wasting. Results were correlated with muscle mass as estimated by creatinine excretion and total body potassium. Patients with myotonic dystrophy had significantly lower testosterone and higher gonadotropin levels than normal, and these changes were progressive in longitudinal studies. Testosterone levels were also lower than normal in disease control subjects. There was no correlation between low testosterone levels and diminished muscle mass in either myotonic dystrophy or disease control patients. The low plasma concentration of testosterone in men with myotonic dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases does not appear to be directly related to their muscle wasting. This study does not exclude the possibility that an alteration in testosterone receptor or tissue effects may contribute to a loss of muscle tissue.

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