Age and time-of-day differences in the hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular, and adrenal, response to total overnight sleep deprivation

Peter Y. Liu, Paul Y. Takahashi, Rebecca J. Yang, Ali Iranmanesh, Johannes D Veldhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


STUDY OBJECTIVES: In young men, sleep restriction decreases testosterone (Te) and increases afternoon cortisol (F), leading to anabolic-catabolic imbalance, insulin resistance, and other andrological health consequences. Age-related differences in the hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular/adrenal response to sleep restriction could expose older individuals to greater or lesser risk. We aimed to evaluate and compare the 24-h and time-of-day effect of sleep restriction on F, luteinizing hormone (LH), and Te in young and older men. METHODS: Thirty-five healthy men, aged 18-30 (n = 17) and 60-80 (n =18) years, underwent overnight sleep deprivation (complete nighttime wakefulness) or nighttime sleep (10 pm to 6 am) with concurrent 10-min blood sampling in a prospectively randomized crossover study. F, LH, and Te secretion were calculated by deconvolution analysis. RESULTS: Sleep deprivation had multiple effects on 24-h Te secretion with significant reductions in mean concentrations, basal, total and pulsatile secretion, and pulse frequency (each p < 0.05), in the absence of detectable changes in LH. These effects were most apparent in older men and differed according to age for some parameters: pulsatile Te secretion (p = 0.03) and Te pulse frequency (p = 0.02). Time-of-day analyses revealed that sleep restriction significantly reduced Te in the morning and afternoon, reduced LH in the morning in both age groups, and increased F in the afternoon in older men. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest a time-of-day dependent uncoupling of the regulatory control of the testicular axis and of F secretion. Future studies will need to directly verify these regulatory possibilities specifically and separately in young and older men. CLINICAL TRIAL: Not applicable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2020


  • cortisol
  • deconvolution
  • human
  • LH
  • sleep
  • testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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