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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1989 Nov;69(5):963-7.

A new test of combined pituitary-testicular function using the gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist nafarelin in the differentiation of gonadotropin deficiency from delayed puberty: pilot studies.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Illinois 60637.


There is evidence that the capacity to synthesize gonadotropins is less in teenage boys with gonadotropin deficiency (GD) than in those with constitutional delay of puberty (DP). We hypothesized that this might predispose the latter group to have a greater pituitary-testicular response to the potent long-acting GnRH agonist nafarelin. We evaluated GD patients 14.3-24.0 yr of age (n = 8) and prepubertal DP boys 14.8-17.6 yr of age (n = 3). In most subjects the response to nafarelin was compared to that of frequent nocturnal blood sampling for LH and testosterone levels. All subjects received a single dose of nafarelin (1.0 micrograms/kg, sc), and blood was then sampled at 0.5- to 4.0-h intervals for 24 h. Patients with GD could not be distinguished from those with DP by pubertal staging criteria or by baseline values of LH, FSH, or testosterone. Patients with GD exhibited no rise in plasma LH levels during sleep, in contrast to those with DP. All GD patients had LH and FSH responses distinctly less than those of the DP group between 3-24 h postnafarelin. The peak incremental responses of GD and DP to nafarelin were, respectively: LH, 5.5 +/- 2 3 (+/- SEM and 77.2 +/- 8.6 IU/L (P less than 0.02); FSH, 2.7 +/- 1.2 and 9.4 +/- 0.8 IU/L (P less than 0.005). Testosterone peak responses were lower as well (0.26 +/- 0.2 vs 1.6 +/- 0.5 nmol/L, P = 0.05). This pilot study suggests that the response to a single test dose of nafarelin distinguishes GD from DP in the teenage years as well as does measurement of nocturnal LH levels. The testosterone response to the GnRH agonist adds a new dimension to GnRH testing. Nafarelin also allows assessment of the bioactivity of endogenous gonadotropin, is a more potent stimulus of pituitary-testicular function than endogenous GnRH secretion, and is more cost-effective than nocturnal sampling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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