Effects of acute and repeated alcohol ingestion on hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal functioning in normal males

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1992 Oct;31(1):57-64. doi: 10.1016/0376-8716(92)90009-2.


We investigated the effects of acute and repeated alcohol ingestion on plasma levels of hormones associated with the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) systems in normal males. In the first experiment, 7 normal male subjects were given ethanol (1.3 g/kg) in the form of a 43% alcohol solution of whiskey and water over a 30-min period (from 19:00 h to 19:30 h); blood samples were collected 30 min and immediately before the beginning of alcohol ingestion and then at intervals of 30 min for 180 min. Blood ethanol levels rose sharply and reached their maximum at 60 min, remaining above 1.0 mg/ml until 180 min. Prolactin levels increased, reaching a peak at 60 min, gradually returning to the initial value at 180 min. Decreased testosterone levels were observed only at 30 min. Luteinizing hormone (LH), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels did not show any increases. In the second experiment, 9 normal males were given the same dose of alcohol, but this was given on 7 consecutive evenings and the hormonal changes were examined on the 1st and 7th days, only at 30 and 60 min after alcohol ingestion began (during the period that blood ethanol levels were ascending to their peak). The results on the 1st day reconfirmed the findings in the first experiment and on the 7th day, the last alcohol ingestion produced increases in prolactin levels and decreases in testosterone levels at 30 and 60 min, but did not change other hormone levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / physiopathology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / physiopathology*
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hypogonadism / physiopathology
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Testis / innervation*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Vomiting / physiopathology


  • Ethanol
  • Testosterone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone