Hormone Load Tests in Infertile Male Patients
AbstractThe recognition that discreet hormonal abnormalities may cause ovulation disorders in women suggested that the male partner of infertile women might also suffer from unrecognized hormonal dysfunction amendable to substitution therapy. We obtained a combined stimulation test with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), thyreotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), and ACTH in 225 males with childless spouses, when the couple sought to have children for at least one year. The following hormone levels were determined: estradiol (E), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), prolactin, testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androstenedione(A), 17-OH-pregnenolone (17-OH-Preg), 17-OH-progesterone (17-OHP), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), cortisone (F), and 21-desoxycortisone (21DF). Basal and stimulated, and adrenal-testicular steroids with and without ACTH stimulation failed to demonstrate a relevant relationship to semen parameters. Gonadotropin levels had a significant negative correlation to all important semen parameters (testicular volume, sperm count, motility, morphology, and vitality) and were positively correlated to sper-miogenetic defects. Stimulated LH values were more clearly associated with spermiogenetic defects than basal LH. Nonetheless, basal FSH concentrations were more informative than LH. Stimulated prolactin values were positively correlated with both gonadotropin and with sperm morphology. E concentrations had a significant positive correlation with both basal and poststimulation DHEAS values, and showed a highly negative correlation with sperm count, morphology, and vitality. In comparison, good sperm parameters were associated with high poststimulation T concentrations. The results of this study suggest that basal FSH and E concentrations, as well as the stimulated LH, T, and prolactin determinations, should be included in the evaluation of male sterility.