Healthy older men manifest concomitant hypoandrogenemia and attenuation of LH pulse size. Because exogenous GnRH remains effective, a plausible intuition is that aging reduces hypothalamic GnRH secretion, thus mediating relative hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. To assess the impact of age on central GnRH outflow indirectly, we quantitated graded suppression of pulsatile LH secretion by saline and escalating doses of a potent and selective GnRH-receptor antagonist, ganirelix, in 18 healthy men ages 23-72 yr. The rationale is that ganirelix should reduce the amplitude of LH pulses in proportion to both drug concentration and endogenous GnRH feedforward. To this end, blood was sampled every 10 min for 2 h before and 16 h after sc administration of saline or ganirelix and for 3 additional hours after iv injection of a fixed dose of GnRH (100 ng/kg); concentrations of LH and ganirelix were measured by immunochemiluminometry and RIA, respectively; and pulsatile LH secretion was quantitated by a deconvolution procedure. Log-linear regression analysis was used to estimate the sensitivity of pulsatile LH secretion to inhibition by a unit increase in serum ganirelix concentrations in each subject. Statistical analyses revealed that increasing age markedly attenuated the capability of ganirelix to decrease LH pulse size (viz., r = -0.648; P = 0.004). In contrast, age did not modify the competitive interaction between injected GnRH and ganirelix. These joint outcomes support the clinical hypothesis that age diminishes hypothalamic GnRH outflow without impairing GnRH action in healthy men.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical