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Serum Levels of Androgen-Associated Hormones Are Correlated with Curative Effect in Androgenic Alopecia in Young Men

Yingchun Zhang, Jingjing Xu, Jing Jing, Xianjie Wu, Zhongfa Lv

(Department of Dermatology, Zhejiang University Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:7770-7777

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.913116

BACKGROUND: Androgenic alopecia (AGA) is the most common type of hair loss in men. However, the pathogenesis is not yet fully understood and therapeutic approaches are limited. This retrospective study investigated the association between levels of androgen-associated hormones and curative effect in androgenic alopecia in young male AGA patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: By using chemiluminescence immunoassay, serum levels of androgens and upstream regulated hormones were measured in 178 young male patients with AGA and in 61 normal controls before therapy, 1 and 2 weeks after administration of finasteride.
RESULTS: Before oral finasteride therapy, we found significantly higher levels of serum free testosterone (FT) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in AGA patients than in normal controls. The levels of serum sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were similar in the 2 groups. There were no significant differences in serum androgen levels, including DHT and FT, among AGA patients with different grades of hair loss severity (p>0.05). After finasteride therapy, the levels of DHT decreased significantly (p<0.05). Increased serum levels of LSH or LH were also observed in 55 patients after therapy (p<0.05). The levels of SHGB did not change significantly after therapy (p>0.05). Patients with lower levels of serum FT and DHT than before who accepted finasteride therapy had a higher ratio of curative effect manifested by improved severity grade (p<0.05). Patients with higher levels of LSH or LH had a lower curative rate compared to those without change after therapy (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed the role of the androgens hypothalamus-hypophysis-sexual gland axis in the pathogenesis of AGA and the treatment effect of oral anti-androgen therapy in young male Chinese patients.

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