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Testosterone (Wiki) 

"Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in humans and other vertebrates. In humans and other mammals, testosterone is secreted primarily by the testicles of males and, to a lesser extent, the ovaries of females. Small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the principal male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid.


    In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair. [1] In addition, testosterone is essential for health and well-being [2] as well as the prevention of osteoporosis. [3]

     On average, in adult males, levels of testosterone are about 7–8 times as great as in adult females. [4] As the metabolic consumption of testosterone in males is greater, the daily production is about 20 times greater in men. [5] [6] Females are also more sensitive to the hormone. [7] Testosterone is observed in most vertebrates. Fish make a slightly different form called 11-ketotestosterone. [8] Its counterpart in insects is ecdysone. [9] These ubiquitous steroids suggest that sex hormones have an ancient evolutionary history. [10]
     It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system. [11]


Most studies support a link between adult criminality and testosterone, although the relationship is modest if examined separately for each sex. Nearly all studies of juvenile delinquency and testosterone are not significant. Most studies have also found testosterone to be associated with behaviors or personality traits linked with criminality such as antisocial behavior and alcoholism. Many studies have also been done on the relationship between more general aggressive behavior/feelings and testosterone. About half the studies have found a relationship and about half no relationship.[72]

Testosterone is only one of many factors that influence aggression and the effects of previous experience and environmental stimuli have been found to correlate more strongly. A few studies indicate that the testosterone derivative estradiol (one form of estrogen) might play an important role in male aggression.[72][73][74][75] Studies have also found that testosterone facilitates aggression by modulating vasopressin receptors in the hypothalamus.[76]

A study at the Universities of Zurich and Royal Holloway London with more than 120 experimental subjects has shown that the sexual hormone can encourage fair behavior. For the study subjects took part in a behavioral experiment where the distribution of a real amount of money was decided. The rules allowed both fair and unfair offers. The negotiating partner could subsequently accept or decline the offer. The fairer the offer, the less probable a refusal by the negotiating partner. If no agreement was reached, neither party earned anything. Test subjects with an artificially enhanced testosterone level generally made better, fairer offers than those who received placebos, thus reducing the risk of a rejection of their offer to a minimum. Two later studies have empirically confirmed these results.[77][78][79] However men with high testosterone was significantly 27% less generous in an ultimatum game while men with the lowest testosterone were 560% more generous.[80] The Annual NY Academy of Sciences has also found anabolic steroid use which increase testosterone to be higher in teenagers and this was associated with increased violence.[81] Studies have also found administered testosterone to increase verbal aggression and anger in some participants.[82]

Estradiol is known to correlate with aggression in male mice.[83] Moreover, the conversion of testosterone to estradiol regulates male aggression in sparrows during breeding season.[84] Rats who were given anabolic steroids that increase testosterone were also more physical aggressive to provocation as a result of "threat sensitivity".[85]

Testosterone is significantly correlated with aggression and competitive behaviour and is directly facilitated by the latter. There are two theories on the role of testosterone in aggression and competition.[86] The first one is the Challenge hypothesis which states that testosterone would increase during puberty thus facilitating reproductive and competitive behaviour which would include aggression.[86] Thus it is the challenge of competition among males of the species that facilitates aggression and violence.[86] Studies conducted have found direct correlation between testosterone and dominance especially among the most violent criminals in prison who had the highest testosterone levels.[86] The same research also found fathers (those outside competitive environments) had the lowest testosterone levels compared to other males.[86]

The second theory is similar and is known as Evolutionary neuroandrogenic (ENA) theory of male aggression[87][88] Testosterone and other androgens have evolved to masculinize a brain in order to be competitive even to the point of risking harm to the person and others. By doing so, individuals with masculinized brains as a result of pre-natal and adult life testosterone and androgens enhance their resource acquiring abilities in order to survive, attract and copulate with mates as much as possible.[89] The masculinization of the brain is not just mediated by testosterone levels at the adult stage, but also testosterone exposure in the womb as a fetus. Higher pre-natal testosterone indicated by a low digit ratio as well as adult testosterone levels increased risk of fouls or aggression among male players in a soccer game.[90] Studies have also found higher pre-natal testosterone or lower digit ratio to be correlated with higher aggression in males[91][92][93][94][95]

The rise in testosterone levels during competition predicted aggression in males but not in females.[96] Subjects who interacted with hand guns and an experimental game showed rise in testosterone and aggression.[97] Natural selection might have evolved males to be more sensitive to competitive and status challenge situations and that the interacting roles of testosterone are the essential ingredient for aggressive behaviour in these situations.[98] Testosterone produces aggression by activating subcortical areas in the brain, which may also be inhibited or suppressed by social norms or familial situations while still manifesting in diverse intensities and ways through thoughts, anger, verbal aggression, competition, dominance and to physical violence.[99] Testosterone mediates attraction to cruel and violent cues in men by promoting extended viewing of violent stimuli.[100] Testosterone specific structural brain characteristic can predict aggressive behaviour in individuals.[101]

The effects of testosterone in humans and other vertebrates occur by way of multiple mechanisms: by activation of the androgen receptor (directly or as DHT), and by conversion to estradiol and activation of certain estrogen receptors.[162][163] Androgens such as testosterone have also been found to bind to and activate membrane androgen receptors.[164][165][166]

Free testosterone (T) is transported into the cytoplasm of target tissue cells, where it can bind to the androgen receptor, or can be reduced to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the cytoplasmic enzyme 5-alpha reductase. DHT binds to the same androgen receptor even more strongly than testosterone, so that its androgenic potency is about 5 times that of T.[167] The T-receptor or DHT-receptor complex undergoes a structural change that allows it to move into the cell nucleus and bind directly to specific nucleotide sequences of the chromosomal DNA. The areas of binding are called hormone response elements (HREs), and influence transcriptional activity of certain genes, producing the androgen effects.

Androgen receptors occur in many different vertebrate body system tissues, and both males and females respond similarly to similar levels. Greatly differing amounts of testosterone prenatally, at puberty, and throughout life account for a share of biological differences between males and females.

The bones and the brain are two important tissues in humans where the primary effect of testosterone is by way of aromatization to estradiol. In the bones, estradiol accelerates ossification of cartilage into bone, leading to closure of the epiphyses and conclusion of growth. In the central nervous system, testosterone is aromatized to estradiol. Estradiol rather than testosterone serves as the most important feedback signal to the hypothalamus (especially affecting LH secretion).[citation needed] In many mammals, prenatal or perinatal "masculinization" of the sexually dimorphic areas of the brain by estradiol derived from testosterone programs later male sexual behavior.[citation needed]