Slow-wave sleep suppression affects testosterone and 17α-hyprogesterone

Nelson Vergel

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Slow-wave sleep and androgens: selective slow-wave sleep suppression affects testosterone and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone secretion.


Levels of steroid hormones such as androgens and cortisol exhibit circadian variation, and their fluctuations are related to the sleep-wake cycle. Currently, the functional role of different stages of sleep in steroid hormone secretion remains unclear. The present study aims to explore the effect of slow-wave sleep (SWS) suppression on morning levels of cortisol and androgens.

Twelve healthy male volunteers participated in two experimental sessions: a session with selective SWS suppression during night sleep and a session with regular night sleep (control). SWS suppression was achieved by stimulation using an acoustic tone. Salivary samples were collected in the morning immediately after awakening and again 40 min later. The samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for testosterone, androstenedione (Ad), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), 17α-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP), and cortisol.

SWS suppression reduced overall SWS duration by 54.2% without significant changes in total sleep time and sleep efficiency. In the session with selective SWS suppression, the average level of morning testosterone was lower than in the control session (p = 0.017). Likewise, 17-OHP was lower in the SWS suppression condition (p = 0.011) whereas the ratio of DHEA/Ad was higher (p = 0.025). There were no significant differences between sessions in cortisol, Ad, or DHEA concentrations.

The effect of selective SWS suppression on morning levels of testosterone and 17-OHP points to the importance of SWS for the synthesis and secretion of androgens. These results suggest that chronic sleep problems, which lead to reduced SWS, increase the risk for the development of androgen deficiency in the long term.

Sleep medicine. 2018 May 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Yu V Ukraintseva, K M Liaukovich, А A Polishchuk, О V Martynova, D A Belov, E S Simenel, М Meira E Cruz, А N Nizhnik

Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Butlerova St. 5A, 117485, Moscow, Russia; ITMO University, Kronverksky Pr. 49, 197101, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Butlerova St. 5A, 117485, Moscow, Russia; Centre for Cognition and Decision Making, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Myasnickaya St. 20, 101000, Moscow, Russia., Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Butlerova St. 5A, 117485, Moscow, Russia; Department of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskiye Gory, 1-12, 119234, Moscow, Russia., ArhiMed Clinique for New Medical Technologies, Vavilova St. 68/2, 119261, Moscow, Russia., Sleep Unit of Cardiovascular Center of University of Lisbon, Faculty of Medicine, Alameda da Universidade 1649-004 Lisbon, Portugal.

PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29894840


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