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Is Low Testosterone Hereditary?

Is Low Testosterone Hereditary?

Recent researchers have identified the association of hereditary with low testosterone levels. The researches have demonstrated that the markers, if present in a particular individual, may increase the risk of development of hypogonadism by 6-7 times as compared to normal person. Fortunately, as far as infertility due to these hereditary disorders is concerned, treatments are available in most of the cases.

Is Low Testosterone Hereditary?

Influence of Hereditary On Testosterone Levels

Various researches have indicated the presence of genetic factors in many cases of low testosterone. The scientists have identified the genetic markers responsible for the male hypogonadism. The presence of these markers on the genetic makeup of a person may increase the risk of hypogonadism by 6-7 times as compared to the person who does not have these markers. Various proteins have been found out which reduces the production of testosterone. It has been found that presence of these markers carries the same risk of hypogonadism as carried by the known risk factors such as obesity, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, smoking and ageing.

Following are the genetic conditions that may cause hypogonadism:

Kallmann Syndrome: This syndrome is caused by the mutation of ANOS1 gene. The expression of this gene shows X-linked recessive pattern. Thus, a presence of single copy of this altered gene in male is sufficient to cause this syndrome. The main symptoms present with this mutation are delayed puberty and impaired sense of smell.

Prader-Willi Syndrome: The genetic mutation in the Prader-Willi Syndrome is generally not inherited. This syndrome is caused due to the mutation in the paternal chromosome 15. The symptoms related to this syndrome are delayed puberty, underdeveloped genitals and infertility.

Klinefelter Syndrome: This syndrome is caused due to an extra X chromosome present in male so that the genotype reads as 47, XXY. These extra genes present have multiple effects on the physiological and mental development. The symptoms include small testes with low testosterone production and infertility.

Myotonic Dystrophy: Type 1 myotonic dystrophy is caused by mutation in DMPK gene while type 2 is caused due to mutation in CNBP gene. These patients have lower testosterone levels and higher gonadotrophin level as this condition is frequently related to testicular atrophy.

Classification of Hypogonadism

The hypogonadism can be classified in to primary and secondary hypogonadism. The primary hypogonadism is due to the inability of testes to produce testosterone.

Secondary hypogonadism, also known as central hypogonadism, is due to the faulty signal form the pituitary and hypothalamus to the testes for production of testosterone. The occurrence of low levels of testosterone from the birth is known as congenital hypogonadism while the low levels developed later in life is termed as acquired hypogonadism.

Causes of Low Testosterone

Following are the causes of low testosterone:

Infection: The infection may reduce the capacity of the cell to produce testosterone or may also reduce the capacity of cells to produce chemical triggers required for release of testosterone. The viral infection such as HIV infection also leads to male hypogonadism.

Testicles Tumor And Therapy: The Leydig cells, which are responsible for the production of testosterone are present in testes. In case of any tumor in the testes, these cells are replaced by abnormal cancerous cells and thus the production of testosterone is reduced. Further, therapy including chemotherapy and radiotherapy also destroys the cells.

Pituitary Problems: Any problem in the pituitary such as pituitary tumor also reduces the release of chemicals required to signal the production of testosterone.

Genetic Factors: Sometimes the low testosterone levels are also linked to the genetic factors.

Injury To Testicles: Any injury or trauma to the testicles may lead to the reduction in testosterone synthesis thereby leading to primary hypogonadism.


In some cases, the low testosterone levels are linked to hereditary. The genetic mutation takes place, resulting in the expression of certain proteins that reduces the level of testosterone. The gene most responsible for hypogonadism is sex hormone binding globulin gene. The related conditions are Kallmann Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Klinefelter Syndrome, and Myotonic Dystrophy.


  1. Huhtaniemi, I. (2014). Late-onset hypogonadism: Current concepts and controversies of pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. Asian Journal of Andrology, 16(2), 192–202. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955332/
  2. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. (2015). Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism) – symptoms and diagnosis. AACE. Source: https://pro.aace.com/patient-resources/explore-endocrine-disorders/male-reproductive-system/testosterone-deficiency-hypogonadism
  3. Skakkebæk, N. E., Rajpert-De Meyts, E., Buck Louis, G. M., Toppari, J., & Andersson, A.-M. (2016). Persistent Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Fetal Testis Development. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 118(1), 32–43. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26411588/

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2023

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