Skip to main content

Effect of large-dose progesterone on plasma levels of lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in males


Eleven men with sexual deviation syndrome were hospitalized for treatmet with medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-provera). Plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, apo A-I and LDL apo B were measured before and during Depo- provera treatment. Ten normolipidemic and one mildly hypertriglyceridemic patient with 117 ± 17% ideal body weight were maintained on a regular hospital diet before and during the study. They received an average total dose of 1273 ± 467 mg Depo-provera by im injections over a mean period of 17 ± 6 days. In the whole group, Depo-provera significantly reduced the plasma total cholesterol by 12% (p < 0.0005), triglycerides by 24% (p < 0.005), LDL cholesterol by 13% (p < 0.01), LDL apo B by 15% (p < 0.05), and apo A-I by 7% (p < 0.05). Total HDL cholesterol, HDL2 cholesterol and HDL3 cholesterol did not change significantly. Excluding from the data analysis a normolipidemic patient who had a significant weight loss during the study and the hypertriglyceridemic patient, the fall in apo A-I during Depo-provera treatment was no longer statistically significant. We conclude that short-term, pharmacological doses of progesterone significantly reduce plasma concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and LDL apo B in men.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Heiss G., Tamir I., Davis C., Tyroler H., Rifkind B., Schonfeld G., Jacobs D., Frantz Jr I. Lipoprotein-cholesterol distributions in selected normal American populations. The Lipid Research Clinics Program prevalence study. Circulation 61: 302, 1980.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Cheung M.C., Albers J.J. The measurement of apolipoprotein A-l and A-ll levels in men and women by immunoassay. J. Clin. Invest. 60: 43, 1977.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Schaefer E.J., Foster D.M., Zech L.A., Lindgren F.T., Brewer Jr. H.B., Levy R.I. The effects of estrogen administration on plasma lipoprotein metabolism in premenopausal females. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 57: 262, 1983.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Glueck C.J., Levy R.I., Fredrickson D.S. Norethindrone acetate, post-heparin lipolytic activity, and plasma triglycerides in type I, III, IV and V hyperlipoproteinemia. Ann. Intern. Med. 75: 345, 1971.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Barth A., Klinger W. Influence of phenobarbital, chlorpromazine, progesterone and phenylbutazone on the biliary cholesterol excretion in rats. Acta Biol. Med. Ger. 39: 1217, 1980.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Amatayakul K. The effects of Depo-provera on carbohydrate, lipids and vitamin metabolism. J. Steroid Biochem. 11: 475, 1979.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Fajumi J.D. Alterations in blood lipids and side effects induced by Depo-provera in Nigerian women. Contraception 27: 161, 1983.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Amatayakul K., Sivassomboon B., Singkamani R. Effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate on serum lipids, protein, glucose tolerange and liver function in Thai women. Contraception 21: 283, 1980.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Engelberg H., Glass S.J. Influence of physiologic doses of sex steroid hormones on serum lipids and lipoproteins in humans. Metabolism 4: 298, 1955.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Larsson-Cohn U., Berlin R., Vikrot O. Effects of combined and low-dose gestagen oral contraceptives on plasma lipids including individual phospholipids. Acta Endocrinol. (Kbh.) 63: 717, 1970.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Spellacy W.N., Buhi W.C., Birk S.A., Cabal R. The effects of estrogens, progestogen, oral contraceptives, and intrauterine devices on fasting triiglyceride and insulin levels. Fertil. Steril. 24: 178, 1973.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Donde U.M., Virkar K. The effect of combination and low dose progestogen oral contraceptives on serum lipids. Fertil. Steril. 26: 62, 1975.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Spellacy W.N., Newton R.E., Buhi W.C., Birk S.A. Carbohydrate and lipid studies during six months treatment with megestrol acetate. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 116: 1074, 1973.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Lipid Research Clinics Manual of Laboratory Operations. Vol. 1 Lipid and lipoprotein analysis. Washington, DC. Government Printing Office. (9 DHEW publication no (NIH) 75-628), 1974.

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Warnick G.R., Benderson J.M., Albers J.J. Dextran sulfate-Mg2+ precipitation procedure for quantitation of high density lipoprotein cholesterol. Clin. Chem. 28: 1379, 1982.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Friedewald W.T., Levy R.I., Fredrickson D.S. Estimation of the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in plasma without use of the preparative ultracentrifuge. Clin. Chem. 18: 499, 1972.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Maciejko J.J., Holmes D.R., Kottke B.A., Zinsmeister A.R., Dinh D.M., Mao S.J.T. Apolipoprotein A-l as a marker of angiographically assessed coronary artery disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 309: 385, 1983.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Berlin F.S., Meinecke OF. Treatment of sex offenders with antiandrogenic medication: conceptualization, review of treatment modalities, and preliminary findings. Am. J. Psychiatry 138: 601, 1981.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Rivarola M.A., Camacho A.M., Migeon C.J. Effect of treatment with medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) on testicular function. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 28: 679, 1968.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Gutai J., LaPorte R., Kuller L., Dai W., Falvo-Gerard L., Caggiula A. Plasma testosterone, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and other lipoprotein fractions. Am. J. Cardiol. 48: 897, 1981.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Goldberg R.B., Rabirr D., Alexander A.N., Doelle G.C., Getz G.S. Suppression of plasma testosterone leads to an increase in serum total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol and apoproteins A-l and B. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 60: 203, 1985.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Wahl P., Waiden C., Knopp R., Hoover J., Wallace R., Heiss G., Rifkind B. Effect of estrogen/progestin potency on lipid/lipoprotein cholesterol. N. Engl. J. Med. 308: 862, 1983.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Hirvonen E., Malkonen M., Manninen V. Effects of different progestogens on lipoproteins during postmenopausal replacement therapy. N. Engl. J. Med. 304: 560, 1981.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Silfverstolpe G., Gustafson A., Samsioe G., Svanborg A. Lipid metabolic studies in oophorectomized women: Effects of three different progestogens. Acta Obstet. Gynecol. Scand. (Suppl.) 88: 89, 1979.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. Margolis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chen, J.J.S., Berlin, F.S. & Margolis, S. Effect of large-dose progesterone on plasma levels of lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in males. J Endocrinol Invest 9, 281–285 (1986).

Download citation


  • Progesterone
  • lipids
  • lipoproteins