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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 Dec;67(6):1140-5.

Two-year comparison of testicular responses to pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone and exogenous gonadotropins from the inception of therapy in men with isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.

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Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Men with the complete form of isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (initial mean testes volume less than 4 mL) require 2 or more yr of exogenous gonadotropin therapy combining hCG and human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) to achieve maximal, but subnormal, testis size and sperm output. To test whether pulsatile GnRH therapy, which more closely mimics normal hormonal stimulation, would accelerate or further augment testicular growth, hasten the onset of sperm production, and/or increase sperm output more than occurs during conventional exogenous gonadotropin therapy, we administered either hCG/hMG or GnRH from the inception of therapy to 2 comparable groups of men with complete IHH (initial testicular volume, less than 4 mL) and compared their testicular responses during the first 2 hr of therapy. Five men were treated with pulsatile GnRH in doses of 143-714 ng/kg every 2 h, sc, while 11 other men received hCG (2000 IU) and hMG (75 IU FSH and 75 IU LH) im 3 times/week. In the GnRH-treated men, the mean plasma total and free testosterone levels during therapy rose to within the normal range, but were significantly lower (P less than 0.01 and P less than 0.02, respectively) than those in the hCG/hMG-treated men. The mean plasma estradiol concentrations during therapy were within the high normal range and were similar in the two groups. The mean plasma FSH levels achieved in the GnRH-treated men were significantly (P less than 0.01) and 1.3- to 3.2-fold higher than those in the hCG/hMG-treated men. The mean testicular size achieved in the GnRH-treated men was not significantly different from that in the hCG/hMG-treated men (P = 0.08); the mean testicular volumes after 2 yr were 4.8- and 4.3-fold the pretreatment values in the GnRH and hCG/hMG groups, respectively. After 12 months of therapy, sperm production had occurred in one man in the GnRH group and in no subject in the hCG/hMG group. After 24 months, two men in the GnRH group and eight men in the hCG/hMG group produced sperm. Thus, 40% of the GnRH-treated men and 80% of the hCG/hMG-treated men (P = NS) produced sperm after 2 yr of therapy. The sperm concentrations in all men were below 5 million/mL and were comparable in the two groups (P = NS). These results suggest that pulsatile sc GnRH therapy for the first 2 yr does not accelerate or enhance testicular growth, hasten the onset of sperm production, or increase sperm output significantly compared to hCG/hMG.

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