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Testosterone, Total

Test ID: 

704303

CPT code:

84403

Clinical Use:

Testosterone testing is used to evaluate androgen excess or deficiency related to gonadal function, adrenal function, or tumor activity. Testosterone levels may be helpful in men for the diagnosis of hypogonadism, hypopituitarism, Klinefelter syndrome, and impotence (low values). Testosterone levels may be requested in women to investigate the cause of hirsutism, anovulation, amenorrhea, virilization, masculinizing tumors of the ovary, tumors of the adrenal cortices, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (high values). Testosterone levels in children may be helpful to investigate issues related to puberty and development as well as the aforementioned. For testosterone measurements in females and children, use of Testosterone, Total, Women, Children, and Hypogonadal Males, LC/MS-MS , which employs liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS-MS), is recommended.

Test Information:

This immunoassay is intended for the in vitro quantitative determination of testosterone in human serum and plasma.

Testosterone is the principal androgen in men. The production of testosterone by the male testes is stimulated by luteinizing hormone (LH), which is produced by the pituitary. LH secretion is, in turn, inhibited through a negative feedback loop by increased concentrations of testosterone and its metabolites. Most of the testosterone in males is produced by the Leydig cells of the testes and is secreted into the seminiferous tubule, where it is complexed to a protein made by the Sertoli cells. This results in the high local levels of testosterone that are required for normal sperm production.

Diminished testosterone production is one of many potential causes of infertility in males. Low testosterone concentrations can be caused by testicular failure (primary hypogonadism) or inadequate stimulation by pituitary gonadotropins (secondary hypogonadism). Since men with hypogonadism often have high SHBG levels, the measurement of free or bioavailable testosterone has been advocated when total testosterone levels are normal in men with symptoms of androgen deficiency. Significant physiological changes occur in men as they age, in part due to a gradual decline in testosterone levels. It is generally accepted that the principal cause of this age-related decrease in testosterone production is testicular failure, although diminished gonadotropin production may play a role. By 75 years of age, the average male testosterone drops to 65% of average level in young adults. “Andropause” is a term that has been used to refer to the constellation of symptoms associated with the age-related decline in testosterone production in men. The adult male reference range for testosterone was established by Travison and coworkers through an epidemiologic study that included men from different geographic regions of the United States and Europe. Testosterone measurment was harmonized to the Center for Disease Control reference method. The reference population included only men younger than 40 years of age who had a BMI less than 30. Much smaller amounts of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are produced in women than in men. Weaker adrenal androgens and ovarian precursor molecules including androstenedione, DHEA, and DHEA sulfate can have significant androgenic effects in women. The ovary and adrenal glands produce some testosterone, but the majority of the testosterone in women is derived from the peripheral conversion of other steroids. Often, the first sign of testosterone excess in women is the development of male pattern hair growth, which is referred to as hirsutism. It should be noted that some women experience hair growth similar to that caused by increased testosterone due to racial or genetic causes and not due to excessive androgens. Measurement of the testosterone may help to distinguish racial or genetic causes of hirsutism from the abnormal pathology, particularly in women with mixed ethnic backgrounds. Women with more excessive testosterone levels may also experience virilization, with symptoms including increased muscle mass, redistribution of body fat, enlargement of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, and acne and increased perspiration. These women can also suffer from androgenic alopecia, the female equivalent of male pattern baldness.

Many women with slowly progressive androgenic symptoms are diagnosed as having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is relatively common, affecting approximately 6% of women of reproductive age. Women with this complex syndrome experience symptoms of androgen excess associated with menstrual abnormalities and infertility. Most women with the syndrome have polycystic ovaries that can be detected by ultrasonography, although this finding is not essential for diagnosis. Chronic anovulation experienced by patients with PCOS increases their risk of developing endometrial cancer. Women with PCOS are often overweight and are likely to suffer from insulin resistance putting them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity and insulin resistance can result in acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that is characterized by hyperpigmented, velvety plaques of body folds. Lipid abnormalities, including decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and elevated triglyceride levels as well as impaired fibrinolysis, are seen in women with PCOS.Cardiovascular disease is more prevalent, and women with PCOS have a significantly increased risk for myocardial infarction.

Specimen Type:

Serum 

Requested Volume: 

0.8 mL

Minimum Volume: 

0.3 mL (Note: This volume does not allow for repeat testing.)

Container Type: 

Red-top tube or gel-barrier tube

Patient Preparation: 

It is recommended to ask all patients who may be indicated for this test about biotin supplementation. Patients should be cautioned to stop biotin consumption at least 72 hours prior to the collection of a sample.

Collection:

If a red-top tube is used, transfer separated serum to a plastic transport tube.

Storage Instructions:

Room temperature

Stability Requirements:

Temperature

Period

Room temperature

14 days

Refrigerated

14 days

Frozen

14 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Rejection Criteria

Citrate plasma specimen; improper labeling

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