Context: The Androgen Receptor (AR) gene exon 1 CAG repeat length has been proposed to be a determinant of between-individual variations in androgen action in target tissues, which might regulate phenotypic differences of human ageing. However, findings on its phenotypic effects are inconclusive.
Objective: To assess whether the AR CAG repeat length is associated with longitudinal changes in endpoints which are influenced by testosterone (T) levels in middle-aged and elderly European men.
Design: Multinational European observational prospective cohort study
Participants: 1887 men (mean±sd age: 63±11 years; median follow-up: 4.3 years) from centres of 8 European countries comprised the analysis sample after exclusion of those with diagnosed diseases of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis.
Main outcome measures: Longitudinal associations between the AR CAG repeat and changes in androgen-sensitive endpoints (ASEs) and medical conditions were assessed using regression analysis adjusting for age and centre. The AR CAG repeat length was treated both as a continuous and categorical (6-20; 21-23; 24-39 repeats) predictor. Additional analysis investigated whether results were independent of baseline T or oestradiol (E2) levels.
Results: The AR CAG repeat, when used as a continuous or categorical predictor, was not associated with longitudinal changes in ASEs or medical conditions after adjustments. These results were independent of T and E2 levels.
Conclusion: Within a 4-year timeframe, variations in the AR CAG repeat do not contribute to the rate of phenotypic ageing, over and above, that, which might be associated with the age-related decline in T levels.