Luteinizing hormone responses to luteinizing hormone releasing hormone, and growth hormone and cortisol responses to insulin induced hypoglycaemia in functional secondary amenorrhoea

E Hirvonen, M Seppälä, S L Karonen, H Adlercreutz
Acta Endocrinologica 1977, 84 (2): 225-36
Luteinizing hormone (LH) responses to luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH), and growth hormone (GH) and cortisol responses to insulin induced hypoglycaemia were studied in 56 women classified into 4 distinct groups of functional secondary amenorrhoea. The groups were: I, self-induced weight reduction (20 patients); II, post pill amenorrhoea (14 patients); III, anorexia nervosa (10 patients); and IV, idiopathic secondary amenorrhoea (12 patients). Only patients with no overlapping anamnestic factors were included. Group I patients had the most heavily impaired LHRH-LH responses, and the GH response to hypoglycaemia was smaller than in other groups. Cortisol responses were normal. Group II patients showed blunted LH responses and normal GH and cortisol responses. Group III patients showed normal or exaggerated LH responses in the recovery phase of anorexia nervosa, while those two patients who were in the static phase of the illness had impaired responses. GH responses varied greatly. Group IV patients had normal basal levels of LH and normal LH, GH and cortisol responses. The restoration of LH response is not solely correlated to body mass, since patients recovering from anorexia nervosa showed greater LHRH-LH responses with nutritional rehabilitation at 76% of ideal body weight than patients with self-induced weight reduction at 87% of ideal body weight. In idiopathic amenorrhoea the hypothalamic pituitary axis seems to be practically intact. The function of hypothalamic-pituitary axis may be impaired selectively in functional amenorrhoea. Corticotrophin releasing hormone function remains intact, and GH-response may be impaired or normal independently of the LH-response to LHRH. In self-induced weight reduction both functions were impaired. These tests are easily carried out with out-patients, and they give more information about the functional state of hypothalamic-pituitary axis than basal analyses of hypothalamic-pituitary axis than basal analyses of gonadotrophins and oestrogens. However, a single pathologic reading in the LH response is not specific enough to indicate to which group of amenorrhoea the patients belong, but these tests together elucidate the severity of lesion in hypothalamic pituitary axis.

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