• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jcinvestThe Journal of Clinical InvestigationCurrent IssueArchiveSubscriptionAbout the Journal
J Clin Invest. Mar 1974; 53(3): 819–828.
PMCID: PMC333063

Hypophyso-Gonadal Function in Humans during the First Year of Life

I. EVIDENCE FOR TESTICULAR ACTIVITY IN EARLY INFANCY

Abstract

Total and unbound testosterone and Δ4-androstenedione have been determined in 104 cord blood samples. The same sexual steroids and pituitary gonadotropins have been measured in 46 normal male infants aged 27-348 days and 34 normal female infants aged 19-332 days.

In cord blood of female neonates mean total and unbound testosterone was 29.6±7.5 and 0.89±0.4 ng/100 ml, respectively (mean±1 SD); Δ4-androstenedione was 93±38 ng/100 ml. In male neonates mean plasma total and unbound testosterone was 38.9±10.8 and 1.12±0.4 ng/100 ml; Δ4-androstenedione was 85±27 ng/100 ml.

In female infants testosterone concentrations remained constant during the 1st yr of life with a mean concentration of 7±3 ng/100 ml. Mean unbound testosterone and Δ4-androstenedione concentrations were 0.05±0.03 and 16.7±8.3 ng/100 ml, respectively. Mean plasma levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone were 8.7±3.3 and 12.9±7.7 mU/ml.

In male infants mean plasma total testosterone concentration increased to 208±68 ng/100 ml from birth to 1-3 mo of age, decreasing thereafter to 95±53 ng/100 ml at 3-5 mo, 23.2±18 ng/100 ml at 5-7 mo, and reached prepubertal levels (6.6±4.6 ng/100 ml) at 7-12 mo. Mean unbound testosterone concentration plateaued from birth to 1-3 mo of age (1.3±0.2 ng/100 ml) decreasing to prepubertal values very rapidly. Mean Δ4-androstenedione concentration, although progressively decreasing during the 1st yr of life to 11.7±4.5 ng/100 ml, was higher than in the female at 1-3 mo of life (34±11 ng/100 ml). Mean plasma level of follicle-stimulating hormone was 6.7±2.9 mU/ml, and that of luteinizing hormone was 19.7±13.5 mU/ml, significantly higher than in the female. There was no correlation between gonadotropin and age or testosterone.

The present data demonstrate that the testes are active during the first natal period. It is tempting to correlate this phenomenon to a progressive maturation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. It is possible that the surge in testosterone occurring the first 3 mo could play a role in the future life pattern of the male human being.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Rivarola MA, Forest MG, Migeon CJ. Testosterone, androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone in plasma during pregnancy and at delivery: concentration and protein binding. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1968 Jan;28(1):34–40. [PubMed]
  • Mizuno M, Lobotsky J, Lloyd CW, Kobayashi T, Murasawa Y. Plasma androstenedione and testerone during pregnancy and in the newborn. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1968 Aug;28(8):1133–1142. [PubMed]
  • August GP, Tkachuk M, Grumbach MM. Plasma testosterone-binding affinity and testosterone in umbilical cord plasma, late pregnancy, prepubertal children, and adults. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1969 Jul;29(7):891–899. [PubMed]
  • Simmer HH, Frankland MV, Greipel M. Neutral C 19 -steroids and steroid sulfates in human pregnancy. VI. Quantification of plasma testosterone in cord venous blood. Steroids. 1972 Feb;19(2):215–228. [PubMed]
  • Abramovich DR, Rowe P. Foetal plasma testosterone levels at mid-pregnancy and at term: relationship to foetal sex. J Endocrinol. 1973 Mar;56(3):621–622. [PubMed]
  • Forest MG, Cathiard AM, Bertrand JA. Total and unbound testosterone levels in the newborn and in normal and hypogonadal children: use of a sensitive radioimmunoassay for testosterone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1973 Jun;36(6):1132–1142. [PubMed]
  • Forest MG, Cathiard AM, Bertrand JA. Evidence of testicular activity in early infancy. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1973 Jul;37(1):148–151. [PubMed]
  • Buckler JM, Clayton BE. Output of luteinizing hormone in the urine of normal children and those with advanced sexual development. Arch Dis Child. 1970 Aug;45(242):478–484. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Faiman C, Winter JS. Sex differences in gonadotrophin concentrations in infancy. Nature. 1971 Jul 9;232(5306):130–131. [PubMed]
  • Forest MG, Rivarola MA, Migeon CJ. Percentage binding of testosterone, androstenedione and dehydroisoandrosterone in human plasma. Steroids. 1968 Sep;12(3):323–343. [PubMed]
  • Forest MG, Ances IG, Tapper AJ, Migeon CJ. Percentage binding of testosterone, androstendione and dihydroisoandrosterone in plasma at the time of delivery. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1971 Mar;32(3):417–425. [PubMed]
  • Burr IM, Sizonenko PC, Kaplan SL, Grumbach MM. Hormonal changes in puberty. I. Correlation of serum luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone with stages of puberty, testicular size, and bone age in normal boys. Pediatr Res. 1970 Jan;4(1):25–35. [PubMed]
  • Sizonenko PC, Burr IM, Kaplan SL, Grumbach MM. Hormonal changes in puberty. II. Correlation of serum luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone with stages of puberty and bone age in normal girls. Pediatr Res. 1970 Jan;4(1):36–45. [PubMed]
  • Resko JA. Androgen secretion by the fetal and neonatal rhesus monkey. Endocrinology. 1970 Oct;87(4):680–687. [PubMed]
  • Levina SE. Reguliatsiia sekretsii gipofizarnykh gonadotropinov v émbiogeneze cheloveka. Probl Endokrinol (Mosk) 1970 May-Jun;16(3):53–59. [PubMed]
  • Faiman C, Winter JS, Chebib FS, Butler TM. Sex difference in gonadotropins in the infant chimpanzee. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1972 Mar;34(3):601–604. [PubMed]
  • Kenny FM, Preeyasombat C, Migeon CJ. Cortisol production rate. II. Normal infants, children, and adults. Pediatrics. 1966 Jan;37(1):34–42. [PubMed]
  • Naftolin F, Judd HL, Yen SS. Pulsatile patterns of gonadotropins and testosterone in man: the effects of clomiphene, with and without testosterone added. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1973 Feb;36(2):285–288. [PubMed]
  • CORNBLATH M, PARKER ML, REISNER SH, FORBES AE, DAUGHADAY WH. SECRETION AND METABOLISM OF GROWTH HORMONE IN PREMATURE AND FULL-TERM INFANTS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1965 Feb;25:209–218. [PubMed]
  • Milner RD, Wright AD. Plasma glucose, non-esterified fatty acid, insulin and growth hormone response to glucagon in the newborn. Clin Sci. 1967 Apr;32(2):249–255. [PubMed]
  • Shaywitz BA, Finkelstein J, Hellman L, Weitzman ED. Growth hormone in newborn infants during sleep-wake periods. Pediatrics. 1971 Jul;48(1):103–109. [PubMed]
  • Franks RC. Diurnal variation of plasma 17-hydroxycorticosteroids in children. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1967 Jan;27(1):75–78. [PubMed]
  • BARRACLOUGH CA, GORSKI RA. Evidence that the hypothalamus is responsible for androgen-induced sterility in the female rat. Endocrinology. 1961 Jan;68:68–79. [PubMed]
  • Arai Y, Gorski RA. Critical exposure time for androgenization of the rat hypothalamus determined by antiandrogen injection. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1968 Feb;127(2):590–593. [PubMed]
  • Karsch FJ, Dierschke DJ, Knobil E. Sexual differentiation of pituitary function: apparent difference bewteen primates and rodents. Science. 1973 Feb 2;179(4072):484–486. [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of Clinical Investigation are provided here courtesy of American Society for Clinical Investigation

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Compound
    Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...