Gonadotropin treatment restores in vitro interleukin-1beta and tumour necrosis factor-alpha production by stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism

Clin Exp Immunol. 2003 May;132(2):265-70. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.2003.02141.x.


In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effects of testosterone deficiency and gonadotropin therapy on the in vitro production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) in order to elucidate the modulatory role of androgen in cytokine production. Fifteen male patients with untreated IHH and 15 age-matched healthy male subjects were enrolled in the study. Serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), free testosterone (FT), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), prolactin, and IL-2 and IL-4 levels were also measured. In unstimulated cultures, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha secretion were not significantly different between patient and control groups. However, after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), secretion of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha was significantly higher in cultures from untreated patients with IHH than in control subjects. Mean FSH, LH and FT levels were significantly lower, whereas SHBG, IL-2 and IL-4 levels were significantly higher in patients with IHH compared than in controls. In patients with IHH, FT negatively affected the serum levels of IL-4 and in vitro secretion of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha. In addition, IL-2 and IL-4 affected the in vitro secretion of IL-1beta in a positive manner. Gonadotropin therapy decreased both TNF-alpha and IL-1beta in PBMCs from patients with IHH. The levels of serum IL-2 and IL-4 were also decreased by therapy. In conclusion, in the present study, gonadotropin treatment restored the in vitro production of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha by PBMCs from patients with IHH, suggesting that androgen modulates proinflammatory cytokine production, at least directly through its effects on PBMCs. It seems probable that this effect plays an important role in the immunosuppressive action of androgens.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / therapeutic use
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy*
  • Hypogonadism / immunology
  • Interleukin-1 / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Menotropins / therapeutic use
  • Regression Analysis
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Testosterone / physiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary
  • Interleukin-1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Testosterone
  • Menotropins