A three-phase study tested the hypothesis that the decrease in the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level observed in boys at puberty is related to an increase in the plasma testosterone concentration. In phase I, 57 boys aged 10 to 17 years were categorized into four pubertal stages based on clinical parameters and plasma testosterone levels. These four groups showed increasing plasma testosterone values and decreasing HDL-C levels. In phase II, boys with delayed adolescence were treated with testosterone enanthate (100, 200, and 200 mg/mo, respectively, for three months). Plasma testosterone levels during therapy were in the adult male range. Levels of HDL-C decreased by a mean of 7.4 mg/dl (0.20 mmol/L) and 13.7 mg/dL (0.35 mmol/L), respectively, after the first two doses. In phase III, 13 boys with delayed adolescence demonstrated increasing plasma testosterone levels and decreasing HDL-C levels (-12.0 mg/dL [-0.30 mmol/L]) during spontaneous puberty. Levels of HDL-C and apolipoprotein A-1 were correlated during induced and spontaneous puberty. Testosterone should be considered a significant determinant (not necessarily directly causal) of plasma HDL-C levels during pubertal development.
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