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High frequency of association of rheumatic/autoimmune diseases and untreated male hypogonadism with severe testicular dysfunction

Arthritis Research
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Our goal in the present work was to determine whether male patients with untreated hypogonadism have an increased risk of developing rheumatic/autoimmune disease (RAD), and, if so, whether there is a relation to the type of hypogonadism. We carried out neuroendocrine, genetic, and rheumatologic investigations in 13 such patients and 10 healthy male 46,XY normogonadic control subjects. Age and body mass index were similar in the two groups. Nine of the 13 patients had hypergonadotropic hypogonadism (five of whom had Klinefelter's syndrome [karyotype 47,XXY]) and 4 of the 13 had hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (46,XY). Of these last four, two had Kallmann's syndrome and two had idiopathic cryptorchidism. Eight (61%) of the 13 patients studied had RADs unrelated to the etiology of their hypogonadism. Of these, four had ankylosing spondylitis and histocompatibility B27 antigen, two had systemic lupus erythematosus (in one case associated with antiphospholipids), one had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and one had juvenile dermatomyositis. In comparison with the low frequencies of RADs in the general population (about 0.83%, including systemic lupus erythematosus, 0.03%; dermatomyositis, 0.04%; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, 0.03%; ankylosing spondylitis, 0.01%; rheumatoid arthritis, 0.62%; and other RAD, 0.1%), there were surprisingly high frequencies of such disorders in this small group of patients with untreated hypogonadism (P < 0.001) and very low serum testosterone levels (P = 0.0005). The presence of RADs in these patients was independent of the etiology of their hypogonadism and was associated with marked gonadal failure with very low testosterone levels.

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