Eur J Endocrinol 2010 Jun 15;162(6):1155-64. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
arc Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Manchester Academic and Health Sciences Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary, The University of Manchester, Grafton Street, Manchester, UK.
Objective: Data remain divergent regarding the activational effects of endogenous hormones on adult cognitive function. We examined the association between cognition, hormones and androgen receptor (AR) CAG repeat length in a large cohort of men.
Design: Community-based, cross-sectional study of 3369 men aged 40-79 years.
Methods: Cognition tests were the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure, Camden Topographical Recognition Memory and Digit-Symbol Substitution. A fluid cognition (FC) z-score was computed from the individual tests. Testosterone, oestradiol (OE(2)) and 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; DHEAS, LH, FSH and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) by electrochemiluminescence. Free testosterone and OE(2) were calculated from total hormone, SHBG and albumin. CAG repeat lengths were assayed by PCR genotyping.
Results: Total testosterone and free testosterone were associated with higher FC z-scores, LH and FSH with lower FC z-scores in age-adjusted linear regressions. After adjusting for health, lifestyle and centre, a modest association was only observed between DHEAS and a lower FC z-score (beta=-0.011, P=0.02), although this was driven by subjects with DHEAS levels >10 micromol/l. Locally weighted plots revealed no threshold effects between hormones and FC. There was no association between CAG repeat length and FC z-score after adjustment for age and centre (beta=-0.007, P=0.06), nor any interaction effect between CAG repeat length and hormones.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that endogenous hormones are not associated with a vision-based measure of FC among healthy, community-dwelling men. Further studies are warranted to determine whether 'high' DHEAS levels are associated with poorer performance on a broader range of neuropsychological tests.