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Measurement of salivary testosterone in adolescents and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Timothy Cheetham, Professor Volker StraubORCiD, Dr Claire Wood



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s).Background: Many young adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) receive long-term glucocorticoids (GC). GC can cause hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism and adolescents may therefore be candidates for pubertal induction. It is unclear whether men with DMD on or off GC have age-appropriate endogenous testosterone production. Methods: We undertook a quality improvement project to assess the feasibility of measuring salivary testosterone (SalT) levels in men with DMD at home. A Sal-T sampling kit was sent by post to all patients with DMD, aged 17 and older, registered at the John Walton Muscular Centre in Newcastle (n = 75). Submitted Sal-T samples were collected and submitted for analysis. Results: Twenty-eight out of seventy-five patients returned samples (age range: 17–34 years). 6/28 samples were unsuitable for analysis. Overall Sal-T levels (n = 22) were significantly lower than in the healthy population (178 ± 107 v 287 ± 109 pmol/l, p = 0.0001). Sal-T was lower in those on GC compared to those off GC (144 ± 81 versus 218 ± 125 pmol/l, p = 0.05). Three patients were unable to collect a sample due to ventilator dependence. Conclusion: Sal T can provide information about androgen status in DMD patients at home, overcoming barriers such as mobility difficulties and challenging venepuncture. However we only obtained samples in a minority of patients suggesting that Sal-T measurement may not be appropriate or acceptable to everyone. There needs to be a more detailed exploration of the barriers to sample submission.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sahun YA, Cheetham T, Boot C, Straub V, Wood CL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Endocrine Disorders

Year: 2021

Volume: 21

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/12/2021

Online publication date: 10/04/2021

Acceptance date: 29/03/2021

Date deposited: 28/04/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1472-6823

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12902-021-00727-4

PubMed id: 33838674


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Funder referenceFunder name
Claire Wood’s salary was supported by a MRC/MDUK clinical research fellowship (MR/N020588/1).