Stimulation of serum inhibin concentrations by gonadotropin-releasing hormone in men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism

C. B. Sheckter, R. I. McLachlan, J. S. Tenover, A. M. Matsumoto, H. G. Burger, D. M. De Kretser, W. J. Bremner

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Inhibin is a gonadal hormone though to be important in FSH regulation. We investigated the effects of the hypogonadotropic state and subsequent GnRH-induced increases in gonadotropin levels on inhibin secretion. Serum levels of inhibin, LH, FSH, and testosterone (T) as well as sperm concentrations were measured in 5 men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) before (baseline) and during 8 weeks of GnRH therapy (5 μg, sc, every 2 h). Baseline and peak inhibin levels were compared to those in a group of 19 normal men. Before GnRH administration, the mean serum inhibin level was significantly lower in the IHH men than in the normal men [166 ± 56 (±SE) vs. 588 ± 30 U/L; P <0.001]. Serum inhibin levels rose after 1 week of GnRH therapy (P <0.05) and remained higher than the baseline level thereafter. The mean peak inhibin level during GnRH administration was lower than the mean value in normal men (485 ± 166 vs. 588 ± 30 U/L; P <0.05). Serum LH and FSH levels rose promptly to the midnormal range or slightly above it. Serum T levels did not significantly increase until 4-5 weeks of GnRH administration and remained in the low normal range. All IHH men were azoospermic throughout the study. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that inhibin is produced by the testis under gonadotropin control. They also suggest the possibility of defective Sertoli and Leydig cell function in men with IHH, since the men's serum inhibin and T levels did not rise to the same extent as did their normalized serum gonadotropin levels during GnRH administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1224
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

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