Skip to main content

The relationship between plasma prolactin and testosterone levels in male hypogonadism

Abstract

Fifty seven male patients either complaining of poor sexual development, gynecomastia or dwarfism and signs of sexual infantilism were studied. Plasma prolactin (PRL) and testosterone (T) were estimated in all patients while 33 of them were also subjected to full pituitary function tests. Twelve of the latter had an elevated basal plasma cortisol or growth hormone which suggested the patient may have been “stressed”; the results were analyzed both excluding and including these patients. The remaining patients were divided into those with a plasma T < 8.0 nmol/l (Group A, 25 patients) and those with a plasma T > 8.0 nmol/l (Group B, 20 patients). The results were compared with those from 18 normal men (Group C). The mean plasma PRL in group A (108.1 mU/I) was significantly lower than that in group B (181.5 mU /I, p < 0.005) or group C (255.7 mU /I, p < 0.001). The difference between groups A and B became much less (p < 0.01) when results from the “stressed” patients were included but this did not affect the difference with group C. The mean plasma PRL in group B was also significantly lower (p < 0.05) than that in group C but the significance of the difference disappeared when all the patients were included (p < 0.2). In the patients there was a significant correlation between plasma and PRL plasma T (p < 0.05). Twelve patients in group A were followed up and it was noticed that when the plasma T exceeded 8.0 nmol/1 either spontaneously (delayed puberty) or as a result of androgen therapy (hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and primary testicular failure), the plasma PRL also rose in 10 patients but fell in 2. It is concluded that the plasma PRL is directly or indirectly influenced by the plasma T level.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Yamaji T., Shimamoto K., Kosaka K., Isurugi K. Heterogeneity of prolactin and TSH response to TRH in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 45: 319, 1977.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Spitz I.M., Zylber E., Cohen H., Almaliach U., LeRoith D. Impaired prolactin response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone in isolated gonadotropin deficiency and exaggerated response in primary testicular failure. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 48: 941, 1979.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Spitz I.M., Zylber-Haran E.A., Trestian S., Dickstein Y., Palti Z., Schenker J.G. The decreased basal and stimulated prolactin levels in isolated gonadotrophin deficiency: a consequence of the low oestrogen, state. Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf.) 16: 423, 1982.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Spitz I.M., Hirsch H.J., Trestian S. The prolactin response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone differentiates isolated gonadotropin deficiency from delayed puberty. N. Engl. J. Med. 308: 575, 1983.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Winters S.J., Johnsonbaugh R.E., Sherins R.J. Evidence that chlorpromazine-stimulated prolactin release distinguishes men with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism from constitutional delay of puberty. Clin. Res. 28: 270A, 1980.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Roulier R., Mattei A., Franchimont P. Prolactin secertion in male hypogonadism. Acta Endocrinol. (Kbh.) (Suppl.) 212: 222, 1977.

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Spitz I.M., Halperin Y., Zylber-Haran E., Shilo S., LeRoith D., Liel Y., Livshin J., Laufer N., Schenker J. Prolactin response to metoclopramide and chlorpromazine in primary testicular failure and isolated gonadotrophin deficiency. Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf.) 14: 375, 1981.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Hagen C., McNeilly A.S., Arrol M., Emmertsen K., Froland A. Prolactin levels in gynaecomastia related to Klinefelter’s syndrome. Lancet 2: 57, 1974.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Burman K.D., Dimond R.C., Noel G.L., Earll J.M., Frantz A.G., Wartofsky L. Klinefelter’s syndrome: examination of thyroid function, and the TSH and PRL responses to thyrotropin-releasing hormone prior to and after testosterone administration. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 41: 1161, 1975.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Barbarino A., De Marinis L. Klinefelter’s syndrome: effects of oestrogen on growth hormone, prolactin and thyrotrophin release, and on thyrotrophin and prolactin responses to thyrotrophin-releasing hormone. Acta Endocrinol. (Kbh.) 92: 347, 1979.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Jeffcoate S.L. Diagnosis of hyperprolactinaemia. Lancet 2: 1245, 1978.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Spitz I.M., LeRoith D., Livshin Y., Zylber-Haran E., Trestian S., Laufer N., Ron M., Palti Z., Schenker J. Exaggerated prolactin response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone and metoclopramide in primary testicular failure. Fertil. Steril. 34: 573, 1980.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    LeRoith D., Liel Y., Caine M., Spitz I.M. The prolactin response to thyrotrophin-releasing hormone is intact in the human castrate male. Acta Endocrinol. (Kbh.) 96: 163, 1981.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Winters S.J., Mecklenburg R.S., Sherins R.J. Hypothalamic function in men with hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism. Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf.) 8: 417, 1978.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Aubert M.L., Sizonenko P.C., Kaplan S.L., Grumbach M.M. The ontogenesis of human prolactin from fetal life to puberty. In: Crosignani P.G., Robyn C. (Eds.), Prolactin and human reproduction. Academic Press, London, 1977, p. 9.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Pierrepoint C.G., John B.M., Groom G.V., Wilson D.W., Gow J.G. Prolactin and testosterone in the plasma of fertile and infertile men. J. Endocrinol. 76: 171, 1978.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to L. J. Hipkin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hipkin, L.J., Diver, M.J. & Davis, J.C. The relationship between plasma prolactin and testosterone levels in male hypogonadism. J Endocrinol Invest 9, 453–457 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03346965

Download citation

Key-words

  • Plasma prolactin
  • testosterone
  • male hypogonadism
  • delayed puberty