The functional characteristics of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis were examined quantitatively in 10 chronic alcoholic men without hepatic dysfunction or clinical nutritional deficiencies. Spontaneous gonadotropin pulsatility was analyzed in blood sampled every 20 minutes over a 24-hour period 3 to 16 days after abstinence from alcohol and again 29 to 39 days later. The numbers of LH and FSH pulses per 24 hours were normal in these alcoholic men compared with controls. However, we found increased mean 24-hour concentrations of immunoactive LH (P = 0.012) and FSH (P = 0.018), increased peak heights for LH (P = 0.035) and FSH (P = 0.004), decreased fractional LH (P = 0.002) and FSH (P = 0.044) pulse amplitudes and increased interpulse valley mean LH (P = 0.010) and FSH (P = 0.018) concentrations. Serum levels of total testosterone, total estradiol and estrone were normal, whereas concentrations of free testosterone and free estradiol were increased. Pituitary release of LH and FSH was normal in response to low (5-μg) and high (95 μg) doses of GnRH given intravenously. The present observations indicate that in chronically alcoholic men, acute abstinence from ethanol is associated with elevated circulating concentrations of immunoactive gonadotropins in the presence of intact spontaneous gonadotropin pulsatility, preserved pituitary responsiveness to exogenous GnRH, and increased concentrations of free testosterone and free estradiol. Such findings are consistent with alterations in the endogenous feedback actions of sex steroid hormones in this setting.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Andrology|
|State||Published - 1988|
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