Figure 633

Primary pathways for testosterone catabolism.

responsible for secondary sexual development. In addition to the effects on male reproductive function, androgens influence a number of other systems, many of which are associated with masculinity. These actions include the growth of male-pattern facial, pubic, and body hair, the lower vocal pitch resulting from a thickening

L TABLE 63.1 Pharmacological Actions of Androgens

Virilizing effects

Gonadotropin regulation Spermatogenesis Sexual dysfunction Sexual restoration and development Protein anabolic effects Increased bone density Increased muscle mass Increased red blood cell mass and lengthening of the vocal cords, and a significant (30%) increase in the rate of long bone growth. Androgens also terminate long bone growth by inducing closure of the epiphyses. The degree of virilization and timing of puberty also affect peak bone density and risk of osteoporosis in males.

The protein anabolic actions of androgens on bone and skeletal muscle are responsible for the larger stature of males than females. Androgens induce some degree of anabolism in other tissues, including bone marrow, liver, kidney, and heart. They also have several other actions, not necessarily associated with maleness, such as lymphoid tissue regression during puberty.

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