Adrenopause (Male Menopause) and Depression
> 11/29/2005 11:53:19 AM

A study in a recent “Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences found a statistically significant link between administration of testosterone and functional connectivity between the left pre-frontal cortex and right parietal cortex, a neural pathway whose malfunctioning has previously been associated with depression and depressive outbreaks.  The study, performed by Dennis J. L. G. Schutter, Ph. D., et al., found that just one dose of testosterone in 14 non-depressed otherwise healthy female subjects was able to enhance the functioning in this interhemispheric cortical depression circuit of the brain.” 

 There could be many possible implications of this study, not the least of which is an increased understanding of how testosterone may function as an antidepressant.  This proposed mechanism of action would explain why in studies like the one conducted by

“Harrison G. Pope, Jr., M.D. et al and published in Am J Psychiatry 160:105-111, January 2003 where in an 8-week randomized, placebo-controlled trial, the authors administered a testosterone transdermal gel to men aged 30–65 who had refractory depression and low or borderline testosterone levels. They found that subjects receiving testosterone gel had significantly greater improvement in scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale than subjects receiving placebo.”

 “The Pope researchers used the following criteria for inclusion and exclusion: Men displaying low testosterone and normal PSA levels according to our laboratory criteria were invited to return for a second screening evaluation. The assessments at this visit included 1) basic demographic questions, 2) the remainder of the SCID, 3) questions regarding history of previous antidepressant drug treatment, 4) the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 5) the Beck Depression Inventory, 6) the Clinical Global Impression, 7) a medical history, 8) a physical examination, including measurement of vital signs, calculation of body mass index, and digital rectal examination of the prostate, 9) collection of blood and urine samples for urinalysis, standard chemistries, blood cell counts, and HIV serology measurements, 10) ECG, and 11) determination of body fat with calipers, together with calculated fat-free mass index, a measure of muscularity previously developed in our laboratory. Subjects were excluded if they exhibited 1) any substance use disorder within the past year (or illicit anabolic steroid use at any time in their lives), 2) current or past psychotic symptoms, 3) a history of bipolar I or bipolar II disorder, 4) any abnormality during the digital rectal examination, or 5) evidence of other clinically significant medical disease.”

 Adrenopause, more commonly known as “the male menopause,” has been linked to depression.  The research reported on here suggests that men with low testosterone who suffer with depression and have low or borderline low testosterone levels should be considered as possible candidates for androgen gel supplementation as either a singular treatment for their depression or in conjunction with conventional antidepressants.. This, however, should not be considered without thorough screening for cancer of any kind but especially cancer of the prostate and a colonoscopy for men over 45 years old.

Unfortunately, the entire area of “male menopause” or adrenopause has been poorly researched in medicine and needs better clarification and definition. The fact that most physicians never draw testosterone levels on men is a sign that this issue is not on the minds of physicians. The other issue is that there is a relativity factor from when a man is young what is his testosterone level to when he is older what is his testosterone level?  If you draw a testosterone level for the first time in a man when he is 50 and have no baseline to compare to you encounter this relative to what problem. A man could have a normal range testosterone level but be relatively low compared to what he had when he was 25 years old. Anyway enough said about this for now…….except that the nutritional supplement people have made millions supplementing men who worry about this problem.


My husband was 54 years this years.For the last 10 month he is so depressed and blaming to his job his staff and his child.And the big problem was I am just passing the total hysterectomy surgery 2 months ago( I am 42 years old).I am interested about the adrenopause because just heard about it,is it my husband depressed has a relation with adrenopause and what shall I do ?Thanks
Posted by: IDA 2/7/2008 1:38:03 AM

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