Male gender is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Testosterone being the main male sex hormone is therefore believed to be responsible for the deleterious effect of the male. However, there are recent studies showing that testosterone level is lower in patients with ischemic heart diseases, and testosterone treatment alleviates the symptoms. Earlier studies showed that functional androgen receptors are present in the heart and that testosterone acts directly at the myocardium. There is increasing evidence to suggest testosterone confers cardioprotection by direct action on the myocardium. Here, we review the recent literature on association between testosterone and myocardial ischemia in males, and the signal transduction mechanisms that mediate the action of testosterone in the heart. The studies reviewed in this article provide evidence that testosterone may confer protection via a varieties of mechanisms, which may be both genomic and non-genomic. Further studies are warranted to further delineate the integration of signaling mechanisms and to explore the possibility of using testosterone in the aging male population with ischemic heart diseases.
Keywords: Testosterone, myocardial ischemia, adrenoceptor, calcium homeostasis