This minireview considers the state of knowledge regarding the interactions of testicular hormones to regulate the secretion and actions of GnRH in males, with special focus on research conducted in rams and male rhesus monkeys. In these two species, LH secretion is under the negative feedback regulation of testicular steroids that act predominantly within the central nervous system to suppress GnRH secretion. The extent to which these actions of testicular steroids result from the direct actions of testosterone or its primary metabolites, estradiol or dihydro-testosterone, is unclear. Because GnRH neurons do not contain steroid receptors, the testicular steroids must influence GnRH neurons via afferent neurons, which are largely undefined. The feedback regulation of FSH is controlled by inhibin acting directly at the pituitary gland. In male rhesus monkeys, the feedback regulation of FSH secretion is accounted for totally by the physiologically relevant form of inhibin, which appears to be inhibin B. In rams, the feedback regulation of FSH secretion involves the actions of inhibin and testosterone and interactions between these hormones, but the physiologically relevant form of inhibin has not been determined. The mechanisms of action for inhibin are not known.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
- Luteinizing hormone