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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Oct;81(10):3692-6.

Inhibin B in males with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency: changes in serum concentration after shortterm physiologic GnRH replacement--a clinical research center study.

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  • 1Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


To examine the role of inhibin B in the feedback regulation of FSH secretion in the human male, we determined serial levels in 18 men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) during their initial 8 weeks of GnRH replacement. Pulsatile GnRH was administered every 2 h, with the dose increased at 2-week intervals (5-50 ng/kg/bolus). Every 2 weeks, sera were assayed for inhibin B, FSH, LH, and testosterone. Serial comparisons were performed within the IHH group as well as vs. normal men (n = 20). The baseline inhibin B level in IHH patients averaged 68 +/- 11 pg/mL (mean +/- SEM), significantly less than that in normal men (239 +/- 14 pg/mL; P < 0.001). After 8 weeks of pulsatile GnRH, inhibin B levels in the IHH patients increased significantly to 118 +/- 14 pg/mL (P = 0.003). During GnRH replacement, FSH concentrations correlated negatively with inhibin B concentrations at all doses. Patients previously treated with testosterone began with somewhat lower inhibin B levels but demonstrated a significantly greater increase in serum concentrations than patients who had received prior gonadotropin or GnRH therapy. A history of cryptorchidism did not have a significant impact on inhibin B concentrations before or during GnRH replacement. The low inhibin B levels in IHH men at baseline and their prompt increase in response to pulsatile GnRH suggest acute regulation by gonadotropin stimulation of the testis. The variation in inhibin B levels at baseline and in response to GnRH suggest that prior gonadotropin exposure and seminiferous tubular development also modulate inhibin B secretion. The consistent negative correlation between FSH and inhibin B during the induction of sexual maturation with GnRH supports the role of gonadal inhibin B secretion as an important endocrine regulator of FSH in the human male.

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