Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Research Suggests Penis Might Produce Testosterone

Research Suggests Penis Might Produce Testosterone

10/21/11

FRIDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Textbooks have long listed the centers of male hormone production as the testes and adrenal glands. But those textbooks might need revising if the results of a new study, showing hormone production in the penis itself, turn out to be true.

The observation stems from analyses in both mice and human tissue, revealing that proteins key to the production of hormones such as testosterone are active in penile tissue.

"We're talking about the expression of certain enzymes that are absolutely crucial to the production of male hormones," explained study lead author Dr. Kathleen Hwang, currently an assistant professor of surgery/urology at Brown University in Providence, RI. "And what we've established is that there are receptors in penile tissue, which has never been demonstrated before."

"So while this is still work in its infancy," Hwang cautioned, "this does suggest that there are other tissues in the male genitalia tract that are actually involved in hormone production."

Hwang (who conducted her research while a fellow in the department of urology at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston) was to present the findings this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

The authors note that male hormone production has not exactly been considered a medical riddle. Researchers have long cited the adrenal glands and testes as the twin engines driving androgen (male hormone) production.

But Hwang and her team wondered whether other organs or tissues might be involved.

To find out, they first harvested testes, prostate, penile and adrenal gland tissue from two 3-month old mice, and subjected them to high-tech microscopic analyses.

Later, human prostate and penile tissue samples were also analyzed.

The results: three key proteins known to be involved in androgen production were, as expected, found to be active in both the mouse and human adrenal and testes tissue.

But unexpectedly, the same protein activity was also found in both prostate gland and penile tissue.

"Now, we know that whatever is being produced in these areas is not sufficient to keep a man's testosterone levels at normal levels," noted Hwang. "But we think these tissues could somehow be major components in the overall male hormone production process."

Hwang stressed that "this was a simple observational and early study. But it's actually very exciting, and we are continuing to explore how this all comes together."

Dr. Edward Kim, president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology at the University of Tennessee's graduate school of medicine in Knoxville, said the finding is worth investigating further.

"What's important about this is that it challenges our current ways of thinking about testosterone production," he said. "It goes up against our present concept that testosterone production is entirely within the realm of the testes and adrenal glands. And this may be an avenue for further research and investigation."

"But clearly, much more research with humans is required to get a real handle on what's going on," he added.

More information

For more on male hormones, head to Tulane University.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse First in Area to Perform Single-Site Hysterectomy
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >