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Tschöp, Matthias; Behre, Hermann M; Nieschlag, Eberhard; Dressendorfer, Regina A.; Strasburger, Christian J. (1998): A time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay for the measurement of testosterone in saliva: Monitoring of testosterone replacement therapy with testosterone buciclate. In: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 36, No. 4: pp. 223-230




Monitoring of testosterone replacement therapy requires a reliable method for testosterone measurement. Determination of salivary testosterone, which reflects the hormone's biologically active plasma fraction, is a superior technique for this purpose. The aim of the present study was to establish a new sensitive time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay for the accurate measurement of testosterone levels in saliva and to validate it by monitoring testosterone replacement therapy in eight hypogonadal men. A clinical phase I- study with the new ester testosterone buciclate was performed to search for new testosterone preparations to produce constant serum levels in the therapy of male hypogonadism. After two control examinations eight male patients with primary hypogonadism were randomly assigned to two treatment groups (n = 2x4) and given single doses of either 200 mg (group I) or 600 mg (group II) testosterone buciclate intramuscularly. Saliva and blood samples were obtained 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 days post injection and then weekly for three months. The time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay for salivary testosterone shows a detection limit of 16 pmol/l, an intra-assay CV of 8.9% (at a testosterone concentration of 302 pmol/l), an inter-assay CV of 8.7% (at a testosterone concentration of 305 pmol/l) and a good correlation with an established radioimmunsassay of r = 0.89. The sample volume required by this method is only 180 mu l for extraction and duplicate determination. The assay procedure requires no more than three hours. In group I (200 mg) testosterone did not increase to normal levels either in saliva or in serum. However, in group II, androgen levels increased significantly and were maintained in the normal range for up to 12 weeks with maximal salivary testosterone levels of 303 +/- 18 pmol/l (mean+/-SE) and maximal testosterone levels of 13.1 +/- 0.9 nmol/l (mean+/-SE) in serum in study week 6 and 7. The time-resolved fluorescence immunoassay for salivary testosterone provides a useful tool for monitoring androgen status in men and women and is well suited for the follow-up of testosterone replacement therapy on an outpatient basis. The long-acting ester testosterone buciclate is a promising agent for substitution therapy of male hypogonadism and in combination with testosterone monitoring in saliva offers an interesting new perspective for male contraception.