Context: Whether testosterone (Te) depletion in aging men reflects deficits in the testis, hypothalamus, and/or pituitary gland is unknown. Objective: Our objective was to quantify the impact of age on gonadal Te secretion driven by amplitude-varying pulses of recombinant human LH (rhLH) in the absence of confounding by endogenous hypothalamo-pituitary signals. Design: This was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Setting: The setting was an academic medical center. Subjects: Fifteen healthy community-dwelling men ages 22-78 yr were included in the study. Intervention: Saline or four separate rhLH doses were each infused twice iv in randomized order as one pulse every 2 h over 20 h to stimulate Te secretion, after LH secretion was suppressed by a GnRH-receptor antagonist, ganirelix. Main Outcome: LH and Te concentrations were determined in blood samples collected every 5 min. Maximal and minimal (as well as mean) Te responses were regressed linearly on age to reflect LH peak and nadir (and average) effects, respectively. Results: The ganirelix/rhLH paradigm yielded serum LH concentrations of 4.6 ± 0.22 IU/liter (normal range 1-9). By regression analysis, age was associated with declines in rhLH pulse-stimulated peak and nadir (and mean) concentrations of total Te (P = 0.0068), bioavailable Te (P = 0.0096), and free Te (P = 0.013), as well as lower Te/LH concentration ratios (P < 0.005). Deconvolution analysis suggested that the half-life of infused LH increases by 12%/decade (P = 0.044; R2 = 0.28). Conclusions: Infusion of amplitude-varying pulses of rhLH during gonadal-axis suppression in healthy men unmasks prominent agerelated deficits in stimulated total (39%), bioavailable (66%), and free (63%) Te concentrations, and a smaller age-associated increase in LH half-life. These data suggest that age-associated factors reduce the efficacy of LH pulses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical