Evaluation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in eugonadal men with type 2 diabetes mellitus

P R Costanzo, S M Suárez, H E Scaglia, C Zylbersztein, L E Litwak, P Knoblovits
Andrology 2014, 2 (1): 117-24
Men with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) have lower testosterone levels and a higher prevalence of hypogonadism. It still remains unclear the mechanism by which there is a relationship between hypogonadism and DM2. The objective was to evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis at different levels in eugonadal patients with DM2. Fourteen patients with DM2 (DM2 group) and 15 subjects without DM2 (normal glucose tolerance test) as control group (CG) were included. We assessed: (i) fasting glucose, insulin, Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA); (ii) luteinizing hormone (LH) pulsatility through blood collections every 10 min for 4 h; (iii) gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) test: basal LH and 30, 60 and 90 min after 100 μg of i.v. GnRH; (iv) human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test: basal total testosterone (TT), bioavailable testosterone (BT), free testosterone (FT), estradiol (E2), bioavailable E2 (BE2) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and 72 h post 5000 IU of i.m. hCG. There were no differences in age, body mass index and waist circumference between groups. Glucose was higher in the DM2 group vs. CG: 131.1 ± 25.5 vs. 99.1 ± 13.6 mg/dL, p = 0.0005. There were no difference in basal insulin, HOMA, TT, BT, FT, E2, BE2, SHBG and LH levels between groups. The DM2 group had lower LH pulse frequency vs. CG: 0.8 ± 0.8 vs. 1.5 ± 0.5 pulses, p = 0.009. Differences in LH pulse amplitude were not found. A negative correlation was found between the number of LH pulses and glucose, r: -0.39, p = 0.03. There were no differences in the response of LH to GnRH between groups nor in the response of sexual steroids and SHBG to hCG. Patients with DM2 showed lower hypothalamic pulse frequency without changes in the pituitary response to GnRH nor testicular response to hCG. Glucose levels negatively correlated with the number of LH pulses which suggests a negative effect of hyperglycaemia in the hypothalamic secretion of GnRH.

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