Inhibin B is a better marker of spermatogenesis than other hormones in the evaluation of male factor infertility

Fertil Steril. 2006 Aug;86(2):332-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.01.022. Epub 2006 Jun 9.


Objective: To assess the role of inhibin B in the evaluation of male factor infertility.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Reproductive endocrinology clinic.

Patient(s): Seventy-five patients with infertility problems (mean age 31.2 +/- 7.5 years) and 12 controls (32.1 +/- 8.8 years) with proven fertility.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Semen analysis was performed according to World Health Organization guidelines. Testicular volume was assessed with the Prader's orchidometer. Serum levels of inhibin B (pg/mL), LH (mIU/mL), FSH (mIU/mL), prolactin (micro IU/mL), and testosterone (nmol/L) were assessed.

Result(s): The mean +/- SEM inhibin B and testosterone levels were significantly lower in the patients than in the controls (inhibin B: 116.4 +/- 11.7 vs. 181.2 +/- 20.9, P=.008; testosterone: 13.6 +/- 0.9 vs. 25.1 +/- 2.9, P=.008). In general, sperm count and testicular volume in the patients were significantly and positively correlated with inhibin B (sperm count: r = 0.476, P<.0001; testicular volume, right: r = 0.57, P=.0001; left: r = 0.53, P=.0001); the inhibin B-FSH index was negatively correlated with FSH. Inhibin B was more strongly correlated with testicular volume and semen parameters than FSH. Inhibin B in the patients was negatively correlated with FSH (r = -0.723, P=.0001) and LH (r = -0.52, P=.0001) and was positively correlated with testosterone (r = 0.4, P=.0013).

Conclusion(s): Inhibin B measurement is a better marker of fertility status than FSH and LH. Concentration of inhibin B in patients with infertility may provide useful information on spermatogenesis and possibly serve as a more direct marker of spermatogenesis than FSH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis*
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology*
  • Inhibins / blood*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sperm Count
  • Spermatogenesis*
  • Testis / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • inhibin B
  • Inhibins
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone