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Toxicol Sci. 1998 Oct;45(2):174-87.

A model for pharmacokinetics and physiological feedback among hormones of the testicular-pituitary axis in adult male rats: a framework for evaluating effects of endocrine active compounds.

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  • 1K. S. Crump Group, Inc., ICF Kaiser, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


The testicular-hypothalamic-pituitary axis controls reproductive functions in males. A description of the basic physiological interactions in adult rats among testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) was developed, permitting simulation of hormone levels in testes and blood. This model was used to simulate hormone levels in intact, castrate, ethane dimethanesulfonate-treated, and antiandrogen-treated rats. A large gradient of testosterone concentrations from testicular interstitial fluid to low levels in peripheral blood is created by the testicular blood flow. The dominant feedback loop is positive regulation of testosterone synthesis by LH and negative feedback of testosterone on LH and FSH. The utility of the model for placing in vitro data in the context of in vivo physiology was illustrated for the case of continued synthesis of testosterone by the isolated testes. In the absence of blood flow, very low residual testosterone synthesis can substantially increase testosterone concentration in isolated testes. Effects of an exogenous endocrine active compound were illustrated by modeling altered LH and FSH regulation by testosterone in the presence of an antiandrogen acting as a competitive ligand for the androgen receptor. Increasing concentrations have no effect on steady-state hormone levels until sufficient levels of antiandrogen are achieved to reduce negative feedback of testosterone on LH and FSH. In summary, a model has been developed that provides a basis for initiating evaluations of key issues of concern for the risk assessment of endocrine active compounds including in vitro to in vivo extrapolation and their dose-response behaviors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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