The male sex hormone testosterone could stop men developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
Testosterone can be found throughout the body and low levels have been linked to obesity, which is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.
Scientists say testosterone triggers chemicals in cells within the pancreas that produce insulin. Now, research suggests that it can help regulate blood sugar and might be useful to help identify new treatments for type 2 diabetes.
The study consisted of feeding male mice a diet which was rich in fats and sugar. The animals were bred with pancreatic beta cells lacking a testosterone gene known as the androgen receptor.
When compared with the normal mice in the group, the ones without androgen receptors all developed lower insulin secretio, which led to glucose intolerance.
The researchers concluded that testosterone boosts the impact of insulin, which is currently used as a diabetes treatment.
Professor Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, of Tulane University in New Orleans, said: “We have found the cause, and a potential treatment pathway, for type 2 diabetes in testosterone-deficient men.
“Our study shows testosterone is an anti-diabetic hormone in men. If we can modulate its action without side effects, it is a therapeutic avenue for type 2 diabetes.”
The study was been published in the Cell Metabolism journal.

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