Neuroendocrine Correlates of Aging in the Male

  • William J. Bremner
  • Alvin M. Matsumoto
  • Robert A. Steiner
  • Donald K. Clifton
  • Daniel M. Dorsa


Prominent age-associated changes occur in the male reproductive system. With aging, normal men experience a gradual decrease in both sexual activity (Figure 1) and in the interest in sexual performance (Kinsey et al., 1948). Despite the fact that occasional cases of fertility persisting in men in their nineties have been reported, fertility rates decline in men during the normal aging process (Harman, 1978). Similarly, in other mammals such as rats and nonhuman primates, various measures of male sexual activity and fertility decline with aging. Rates of contact with females, mounting, and ejaculation all decrease in normal old animals (Larsson and Essberg, 1962; Phoenix and Chambers, 1982).


Luteinizing Hormone Circadian Rhythm Testosterone Level Leydig Cell Serum Testosterone Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baker, H. W. G., Bremner, W. J., Burger, H. G., deKretser, D. M., Dulmanis, A., Eddie, L. W., Hudson, B., Keogh, E. J., Lee, V. W. K., and Rennie, G. C., 1976, Testicular control of follicle-stimulating hormone secretion, Rec. Prog. Horm. Res. 32:429–476.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bremner, W. J., Matsumoto, A. M., Sussman, A. M., and Paulsen, C. A., 1981, Follicle stimulating hormone and human spermatogenesis, J. Clin. Investig. 68:1044–1052.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bremner, W. J., Vitiello, M. V., and Prinz, P. N., 1983, A loss of circadian rhythmicity in blood testosterone levels with aging in normal men, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 56:1278–1281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coquelin, A., and Desjardins, C., 1982, Luteinizing hormone and testosterone secretion in young and old male mice, Am. J. Physiol. 243:E257–E263.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dorsa, D. M., Smith, E. R., and Davidson, J. M., 1984, Immunoreative β-endorphin and LHRH levels in the brains of aged male rats with diminished sex behavior, Neurobiol. Aging 5:115–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Enright, J. J., 1980, Temporal precision in circadian system: A reliable plot from unreliable components, Science 209:1542–1545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Forman, L. J., Sontag, W. E., VanVugt, D. A., and Meites, J., 1981, Immuno-reactive B-endor-phin in the plasma, pituitary and hypothalamus of young and old male rats, Neurobiol. Aging 2:281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Harman, S. M., 1978, clinical aspects of aging in the male reproductive system, in: The Aging Reproductive System (E. L. Schneider, ed.) Raven Press, New York, pp. 29–58.Google Scholar
  9. Harman, S. M., and Tsitouras, P.D., 1980, Measurement of sex steroids, basal luteinizing hormone and Leydig cell response to human chorionic gonadotropin, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 51:35–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hoffman, G. E., and Sladek, J. R., 1980, Age-related changes in dopamine, LHRH and somatos-tatin in the rat hypothalamus, Neurobiol. Aging 1:27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Iguchi, H., Kato, K-I., and Ibayashi, H., 1982, Age-dependent reduction in serum melatonin concentrations in healthy human subjects, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 55:27–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kaler, L. W., and Neaves, W. B., 1978, Attrition of the human Leydig cell population with advancing age, Anat. Rec. 192:513–518.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karpas, A. E., Bremner, W. J., Clifton, D. K., Steiner, R. A., and Dorsa, D. M., 1983, Diminished LH pulse frequency and amplitude with aging in the male rat, Endocrinology 112:788–792.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., and Martin, C. E., 1948, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  15. Larsson, K., and Essberg, L., 1962, Effect of age on the sexual behavior of the rat, Gerontologia 6:133–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Marrama, P., Carani, C., Baraghini, G. F., Volpe, A., Zini, D., Celani, M. F., and Montanini, V., 1982, Circadian rhythm of testosterone and prolactin in the aging man, Maturitas 4:131–138.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marrama, P., Montanini, V., Celani, M. F., Carani, C., Cioni, K., Bazzani, M., Cavani, D., and Baraghini, G. F., 1984, Decrease in luteinizing hormone biological activity/immunoreactivity ratio in elderly men, Maturitas 5:223–231.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Meites, J., Huang, H. H., and Simpkins, J. W., 1978, Recent studies on neuroendocrine control of reproductive senescence in rats, in: The Aging Reproductive System (E. L. Schneider, ed.), Ravan Press, New York, pp. 213–235.Google Scholar
  19. Miller, A. E., and Reigle, G. D., 1978, Hypothalamic LH releasing activity in young and aged intact and gonadectomized rats, Exp. Aging Res. 4:145.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miller, A. E., and Reigle, G. D., 1982, Temporal patterns of serum luteinizing hormone and testosterone and endocrine responses to luteinizing hormone releasing hormone in aging male rats, J. Gerontol. 37:522–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Murono, E. P., Nankin, H. R., Lin, T., and Osterman, J., 1982, The aging Leydig cell. V. Diurnal rhythms in aged men, Acta Endocrinol. 99:619–623.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Nelson, W., Tong, Y. L, Lee, J-K., and Malberg, F., 1979, Methods for cosinor-rhythmometry, Chronobiologia 6:305–383.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Nieschlag, E., Lammers, U., Freischem, C. W., Langer, K., and Wickings, E. J., 1982, Reproductive function in young fathers and grandfathers, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 55:676–681.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Phoenix, C. H., and Chambers, K. C., 1982, Sexual behavior in aging male rhesus monkeys, in: Advanced Views in Primate Biology (A. B. Chiarelli and R. S. Corrucini, eds.), Springer, Berlin, pp. 95–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ponzio, F., Calderini, G., Lanusao, G., Vantim, G., Toffano, G., and Algieri, S., 1982, Changes in monoamines and their metabolite levels in some brain regions of aged rats, Neurobiol. Aging 3:23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Purifoy, F. E., Koopmans, L. H., and Mayes, D. M., 1981, Age differences in serum androgen levels in normal adult males. Hum. Biol. 53:499–511.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Royer, G. L., Seckman, C. E., Schwartz, J. H., Bennett, K. P., and Hendrix, J. W., 1984, Relationship between age and levels of total, free, and bound testosterone in healthy subjects, Curr. Ther. Res. 35:345–353.Google Scholar
  28. Simpkins, J. W., Kalra, P. S., and Kalra, S. P., 1981, Alterations in daily rhythms of testosterone and progesterone in old male rats, Exp. Aging Res. 7:25–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sparrow, D., Basse, R., and Rowe, J. W., 1980, The influence of age, alcohol consumption and body build on gonadal function in man, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 51:508–512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stearns, E. L., MacDonnell, J. A. Kaufman, B. J., Padua, R., Lucman, T. S., Winter, J. S. D., and Faiman, C., 1974, Declining testicular function with age: Hormonal and clinical correlates, Am. J. Med. 57:761–766.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Steiner, R. A., Bremner, W. J., and Clifton, D. K., 1982, Regulation of luteinizing hormone pulse frequency and amplitude by testosterone in the male rat, Endocrinology 111:2055–2061.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steiner, R. A., Bremner, W. J., Clifton, D. K., and Dorsa, D. M., 1984, Reduced pulsatile luteinizing hormone and testosterone secretion with aging in the male rat, Biol. Reprod. 31:251–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Vermeulen, A., Rubens, R., and Verdonck, L., 1972, Testosterone secretion and metabolism in male senescence, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 34:730–735.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Warner, B. A., Dufau, M. L., and Santen, R. J., 1985, Effects of aging and illness on the pituitary testicular axis in men: Qualitative as well as quantitative changes in luteinizing hormone, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 60:263–268.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Bremner
    • 1
  • Alvin M. Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Robert A. Steiner
    • 2
  • Donald K. Clifton
    • 2
  • Daniel M. Dorsa
    • 3
  1. 1.Endocrinology SectionVeterans Administration Medical CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Gerontology Research, Education, and Clinical CenterVeterans Administration Medical CenterSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations