A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that rats fed a combination of high-testosterone and high-salt diets for three weeks exhibited significant improvements in their ability to learn and respond to the training tasks of a social interaction task, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers.
The study, conducted by a team of scientists, also found that a combination therapy of testosterone and salt was able to increase levels of testosterone in the blood of rats.
The findings could lead to new treatments for humans, the study authors wrote.
“In this study, we showed that the addition of low-testogenin, the first step in this treatment regimen, resulted in significant changes in behavior, cognition, and behavioral flexibility,” said lead author Yuliya Sirotkin, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“These findings highlight the potential of this type of testosterone therapy for enhancing cognitive, motor, and cognitive-related behaviors in animals.”
The study was conducted in rats, but the researchers believe that it could be used to treat other animals, including humans, too.
A study done in 2016 also showed that testosterone was able the increase in cognitive ability of rats fed diets rich in the protein tyrosine kinase-3 (TRP-3) signaling molecule.
“It is promising that we have found that this molecule, which is involved in the activation of the TRP-2 receptor, also has beneficial effects in humans,” Sirotskin said.
“As it turns out, a high level of TRP2, the receptor for TRP, is required for brain function.”
The researchers found that rats on the high-trp-2 diet experienced significant improvements on an array of behavioral tasks, including learning and responding to social interactions, when fed a mix of low, medium, and high levels of the signaling molecule, with a high-level of protein tyrosylation.
“The effect of TRPA1 and TRP was particularly significant,” Sibilova said.
The researchers also found differences in the brains of rats on both the low-trpa1 and low-TRp-1 diets.
“While there were significant changes across the board, TRP1 levels were significantly higher in the high trpa1 group compared to the low trpa2 group, and TRPA2 levels were higher in rats on high-TRPA1 than in rats in the low group,” Sipilova noted.
The authors also found a significant increase in the levels of TRPM8 in the liver of rats treated with a combination combination of the two signaling molecules, suggesting that these changes could be directly related to the increased TRP levels.
Sirovsky believes that the combination therapy may be beneficial in people, especially those who have low testosterone levels, because it has been known for years that it can improve cognitive function.
“This study provides evidence that a single intervention with low-testicular testosterone can improve cognition in humans, and the combination of low and high TRP/TBP signaling may also have benefits for the development of mental and physical health,” she said.
According to Sirovkin, it may be possible to use this therapy to improve cognition and physical functioning in women who have a condition known as hypogonadism, which causes an abnormal buildup of body fat.
“If a woman has an underlying condition that may lead to hypogonia, such as hypothyroidism, we could also consider administering the combination to the hypogoneemic woman in order to reduce the overall weight of the body,” she noted.
“However, this is not yet proven in humans.
In the future, we will investigate whether the combination may also be beneficial for women who are at increased risk of developing hypogony.”
Sirovichkin and her team also found increased levels of TSH, which indicates that the body is producing more TSH.
“We are very excited by these results,” said study co-author Daniela Ziccardi, PhD. “Tests have shown that these levels of tesosterone correlate well with the number of cognitive tests performed, so it is possible that this may be a mechanism for the improvement of cognition.”
Sibila said that the study was small, but was promising because it showed that using a combination treatment could improve cognition.
“Previous studies have shown a positive effect of combining high-T and low levels of a testosterone treatment on cognitive performance in rats,” Siba said.
She added that more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms of the effects, and if there is a potential for this therapy for improving mental health.
“Our next steps will be to determine whether the effects observed are related to other cognitive-enhancing effects and to further examine whether these effects are mediated by the effect of the combination treatment,” S