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      Predictive factors for pituitary response to pulsatile GnRH therapy in patients with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism

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          Pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) may induce spermatogenesis in most patients with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) by stimulating gonadotropin production, while the predictors for a pituitary response to pulsatile GnRH therapy were rarely investigated. Therefore, the aim of our study is to investigate predictors of the pituitary response to pulsatile GnRH therapy. This retrospective cohort study included 82 CHH patients who received subcutaneous pulsatile GnRH therapy for at least 1 month. Patients were categorized into poor or normal luteinizing hormone (LH) response subgroups according to their LH level (LH <2 IU l −1 or LH ≥2 IU l −1) 1 month into pulsatile GnRH therapy. Gonadotropin and testosterone levels, testicular size, and sperm count were compared between the two subgroups before and after GnRH therapy. Among all patients, LH increased from 0.4 ± 0.5 IU l −1 to 7.5 ± 4.4 IU l −1 and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increased from 1.1 ± 0.9 IU l −1 to 8.8 ± 5.3 IU l −1. A Cox regression analysis showed that basal testosterone level (β = 0.252, P = 0.029) and triptorelin-stimulated FSH 60min (β = 0.518, P = 0.01) were two favorable predictors for pituitary response to GnRH therapy. Nine patients (9/82, 11.0%) with low LH response to GnRH therapy were classified into the poor LH response subgroup. After pulsatile GnRH therapy, total serum testosterone level was 39 ± 28 ng dl −1 versus 248 ± 158 ng dl −1 ( P = 0.001), and testicular size was 4.0 ± 3.1 ml versus 7.9 ± 4.5 ml ( P = 0.005) in the poor and normal LH response subgroups, respectively. It is concluded that higher levels of triptorelin-stimulated FSH 60minand basal total serum testosterone are favorable predictors of pituitary LH response to GnRH therapy.

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          Most cited references 15

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          WHO Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen

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            Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism Revisited

            Impaired testicular function, i.e., hypogonadism, can result from a primary testicular disorder (hypergonadotropic) or occur secondary to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction (hypogonadotropic). Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism can be congenital or acquired. Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is divided into anosmic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (Kallmann syndrome) and congenital normosmic isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism). The incidence of congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is approximately 1-10:100,000 live births, and approximately 2/3 and 1/3 of cases are caused by Kallmann syndrome (KS) and idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, respectively. Acquired hypogonadotropic hypogonadism can be caused by drugs, infiltrative or infectious pituitary lesions, hyperprolactinemia, encephalic trauma, pituitary/brain radiation, exhausting exercise, abusive alcohol or illicit drug intake, and systemic diseases such as hemochromatosis, sarcoidosis and histiocytosis X. The clinical characteristics of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism are androgen deficiency and a lack/delay/stop of pubertal sexual maturation. Low blood testosterone levels and low pituitary hormone levels confirm the hypogonadotropic hypogonadism diagnosis. A prolonged stimulated intravenous GnRH test can be useful. In Kallmann syndrome, cerebral MRI can show an anomalous morphology or even absence of the olfactory bulb. Therapy for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism depends on the patient's desire for future fertility. Hormone replacement with testosterone is the classic treatment for hypogonadism. Androgen replacement is indicated for men who already have children or have no desire to induce pregnancy, and testosterone therapy is used to reverse the symptoms and signs of hypogonadism. Conversely, GnRH or gonadotropin therapies are the best options for men wishing to have children. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is one of the rare conditions in which specific medical treatment can reverse infertility. When an unassisted pregnancy is not achieved, assisted reproductive techniques ranging from intrauterine insemination to in vitro fertilization to the acquisition of viable sperm from the ejaculate or directly from the testes through testicular sperm extraction or testicular microdissection can also be used, depending on the woman's potential for pregnancy and the quality and quantity of the sperm.
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              Predictors of outcome of long-term GnRH therapy in men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.

              GnRH treatment is successful in inducing virilization and spermatogenesis in men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH). However, a small subset of IHH men, poorly characterized to date, fail to reach a normal testicular volume (TV) and produce sperm on this therapy. To determine predictors of outcome in terms of TV and sperm count, we studied 76 IHH men (38% with anosmia) undergoing GnRH therapy for 12-24 months. The population was stratified according to the baseline degree of prior pubertal development: absent (group 1, n = 52), partial (group 2, n = 18), or complete (adult onset HH; group 3, n = 6). Cryptorchidism was recorded in 40% of group 1, 5% of group 2, and none in group 3. Pulsatile GnRH therapy was initiated at 5-25 ng/kg per pulse sc and titrated to attain normal adult male testosterone (T) levels. LH, FSH, T, and inhibin B (I(B)) levels were measured serially, and maximum sperm count was recorded. A longitudinal mixed effects model was used to determine predictors of final TV. LH (97%) and T (93%) levels were normalized in the majority of IHH men. Groups 2 and 3 achieved a normal adult testicular size (92%), FSH (96%), I(B) levels (93%), and sperm in their ejaculate (100%). However, given their prior complete puberty and thus primed gonadotropes and testes, group 3 responded faster, normalizing androgen production by 2 months and completing spermatogenesis by 6 months. In contrast, group 1 failed to normalize TV (11 +/- 0.4 ml) and I(B) levels (92 +/- 6 pg/ml) by 24 months, despite normalization of their FSH levels (11 +/- 2 IU/liter). Similarly, sperm counts of group 1 plateaued well below the normal range (median of 3 x 10(6)/ml) with 18% remaining azoospermic. The independent predictors of outcome of long-term GnRH therapy were: 1) the presence of some prior pubertal development (positive predictor; group effect (beta) = 4.3; P = 0.003); 2) a baseline I(B) less than 60 pg/ml (negative predictor; beta = -3.7; P = 0.009); and 3) prior cryptorchidism (negative predictor; beta = -1.8; P = 0.05). Notably, anosmia was not an independent predictor of outcome when adjusted for other baseline variables. Our conclusions are: 1) pulsatile GnRH therapy in IHH men is very successful in inducing androgen production and spermatogenesis; 2) normalization of the LH-Leydig cell-T axis is achieved more uniformly than the FSH-Sertoli cell-I(B) axis during GnRH therapy; and 3) favorable predictors for achieving an adult testicular size and consequently optimizing spermatogenesis are prior history of sexual maturation, a baseline I(B) greater than 60 pg/ml, and absence of cryptorchidism.

                Author and article information

                Asian J Androl
                Asian J. Androl
                Asian Journal of Andrology
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                Jul-Aug 2018
                06 March 2018
                : 20
                : 4
                : 319-323
                Department of Endocrinology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Key Laboratory of Endocrinology, Ministry of Health, Beijing 100730, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Dr. XY Wu ( wsheyan@ 123456vip.sina.com ) or Dr. M Nie ( nm_pumch@ 123456aliyun.com )

                These two authors contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright: © The Author(s)(2018)

                This is an open access journal, and articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as appropriate credit is given and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

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