Basal inhibin B and the testosterone response to human chorionic gonadotropin correlate in prepubertal boys

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Jan;85(1):134-8. doi: 10.1210/jcem.85.1.6285.


During childhood, the quiescent phase of testicular activity, the hCG stimulation test is widely used to evaluate testicular function. Inhibin B, a gonadal peptide regulating FSH secretion, is an established marker of Sertoli cell function and spermatogenesis in adults. In contrast to the other hormones of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, inhibin B is also secreted in detectable amounts during childhood. The aim of this study was to determine whether basal inhibin B levels are able to predict prepubertal testicular function, so as to avoid a stimulation test. Inhibin B and testosterone before and after hCG stimulation were measured in 54 male children with various testicular disorders by an immunoassay specific for inhibin B. Basal inhibin B was compared to the testosterone increase after hCG. Inhibin B and the hCG-induced testosterone increment correlated strongly (r = 0.84; P<0.0001). Patients with anorchia were clearly distinguishable from those with abdominal testes, having undetectable (inhibin B, <15 pg/mL) respective normal inhibin B levels for age. Inhibin B and the testosterone response to hCG were low in boys with testicular damage (delayed diagnosis of cryptorchidism; after testicular torsion) and in patients with gonadal dysgenesis, but were normal or increased in children with androgen insensitivity syndrome. We conclude that basal inhibin B predicts the testosterone response to hCG in boys and therefore gives reliable information about both the presence and function of the testes. The diagnostic procedure in cryptorchidism may be reduced to a single inhibin B measurement. Furthermore, inhibin B levels show specific alterations in patients with sexual ambiguity, adding a valuable diagnostic tool to the complex differential diagnosis of male pseudohermaphroditism.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inhibins / blood*
  • Inhibins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Testicular Diseases / metabolism
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Testosterone
  • Inhibins