Sensitive LH and FSH assays for monitoring low serum levels in men undergoing steroidal contraception

David M. Robertson, Enid Pruysers, Tanneale Stephenson, Kim Pettersson, Sue Morton, Robert I. McLachlan

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    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Current immunoassays for detecting serum FSH and LH are not sufficiently sensitive to detect the markedly reduced levels in men undergoing steroidal hormonal treatment for contraceptive purposes. The purpose of this study was to increase the sensitivity of available LH and FSH immunofluorometric (Delfia®) assays in order to allow a better understanding of the importance of gonadotrophin suppression in achieving the optimal suppression of sperm count. DESIGN AND PATIENTS: Assay conditions were modified by increasing serum sample volume, the inclusion of either FSH- or LH-depleted serum to reduce the resulting matrix effects and extending incubation times. The microassays were applied to serum from 10 men administered testosterone enanthate with or without depot medroxyprogesterone acetate for 12 weeks as part of a contraceptive trial. RESULTS: The assay sensitivities were increased to 0.005 IU/l for LH and 0.010 IU/l for FSH, representing a five- to six-fold increase in sensitivity compared with existing assays. In the clinical trial, serum LH levels were suppressed to near or below the level of assay detection (mean 0.014 IU/l,

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)331-339
    Number of pages9
    JournalClinical Endocrinology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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