The androgen status of 25 male patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was assessed and compared with that of age matched controls with osteoarthritis (OA). Significantly reduced levels of serum free testosterone were found in the RA group. Within that group free testosterone was unrelated to all indices of disease activity measured, though it was strongly related to latex positivity. These results support the hypothesis that male sex hormones may have a protective role in RA, though prospective studies would be necessary to determine whether the relation was one of cause or effect.
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