A new study has found that the male sex hormone, testosterone, could prevent men from developing type 2 diabetes.

Low levels of testosterone throughout the body have been linked to both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Testosterone triggers key signaling mechanisms in the islet cells within the pancreas, according to research, and can help stimulate the production of insulin.

Use of the hormone in treatments, therefore, may help to regulate blood sugar levels, and may help to identify new treatment methods for type 2 diabetes.

The research involved male mice, who had been bred to have pancreatic cells that were lacking a testosterone gene receptor, called the androgen receptor.

The mice were fed a high fat, high sugar diet, and were then tested for their responses to glucose.

All mice without the androgen receptors developed a lower level of insulin secretion when compared to mice raised in a control group.

Testosterone levels in men tend to decline as they get older, and, as type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in older people, the study may help to uncover more risk factors and ways to prevent the condition from developing.

“We have found the cause, and a potential treatment pathway, for type 2 diabetes in testosterone-deficient men,” said Professor Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, of Tulane University in New Orleans.

“Our study shows testosterone is an anti-diabetic hormone in men. If we can modulate its action without side effects, it is a therapeutic avenue for type 2 diabetes.”

The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.