The potential importance of GnRH pulse frequency modulation and steroid or inhibin negative feedback in the selective control of pituitary FSH secretion was investigated in 5 adult men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in whom plasma testosterone has been previously normalized by pulsatile GnRH therapy. The effects of decreasing frequency of pulsatile iv GnRH administration from 2- to 4-hourly for 7 days were examined at constant GnRH bolus dose or constant daily dose and also with interrupted gonadal steroid feedback using a combination of an anti-androgen (flutamide 250 mg t.i.d.) and an aromatase inhibitor (aminogluthetimide 125 mg b.d.) orally for a further 7 days. Slowing GnRH pulse frequency from 2- to 4-hourly did not alter mean plasma FSH at constant bolus dose or constant total daily doses of GnRH. In two subjects with subnormal but not in another two with normal testicular volumes, FSH rise was observed when the 4-hourly GnRH pulse frequency was combined with the interruption of steroid feedback. These results are not compatible with a major role for GnRH pulse frequency modulation in the regulation of pituitary FSH secretion in the presence of normal gonadal steroid feedback. Irrespective of FSH concentrations, plasma inhibin immunoactivity did not change significantly with the alteration in GnRH pulse frequency. The role of inhibin in the control of FSH therefore remains undefined in men.
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|Published - 1 Jan 1991