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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2012, Article ID 789653, 8 pages
Review Article

Androgens and Adipose Tissue in Males: A Complex and Reciprocal Interplay

1Centre of Clinical and Basic Research, Department of Medical Sciences, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, 235 00163 Rome, Italy
2Unit of Endocrinology, S. Eugenio & CTO A. Alesini Hospitals, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy
3Department of Medical Pathophysiology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy

Received 2 August 2011; Accepted 15 September 2011

Academic Editor: Rodolfo Rey

Copyright © 2012 Caterina Mammi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Clinical evidence shows that in males obesity is frequently associated with hypogonadism and vice versa; also, low testosterone levels have been considered a “hallmark” of metabolic syndrome in men. These observations indicate that there is a strict connection between anatomically and functionally distinct cell types such as white adipocytes and Leydig cells, that synthesize testosterone. Adipose tissue is able to control several functions of the testis through its products secreted in the bloodstream. On the other hand, circulating levels of testosterone and estradiol deeply affect adipocyte proliferation, differentiation, and fat mass distribution, hereby controlling critical metabolic functions, such as food intake, insulin sensitivity, vascular reactivity, and immunity. This paper highlights the existing clinical and experimental evidence linking androgens and adipose tissue and illustrates the consequences occurring when the balance between fat mass distribution and eugonadism is lost.