Serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone strongly correlates with intratesticular testosterone in gonadotropin-suppressed normal men receiving various dosages of human chorionic gonadotropin

Fertil Steril. 2008 Feb;89(2):380-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.02.059. Epub 2007 Apr 26.


Objective: To determine if serum concentrations of testosterone precursors would correlate with intratesticular testosterone (ITT) concentration measured directly by testicular aspiration and allow for a less invasive means of inferring ITT.

Design: Controlled clinical study.

Setting: Healthy volunteers in an academic research environment.

Patient(s): Twenty-nine normal men.

Intervention(s): We determined ITT concentration by testicular aspiration before and after treatment in men receiving exogenous T to block endogenous gonadotropin production and randomly assigned to one of four doses of hCG (0, 125 IU, 250 IU, or 500 IU every other day) for 3 weeks.

Main outcome measure(s): The association between serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OH-P), androstenedione, and DHEA and ITT.

Result(s): With T administration alone, serum 17OH-P decreased significantly and increased significantly when 500 IU hCG was administered. End-of-treatment ITT strongly correlated with serum 17OH-P. Moreover, serum 17OH-P, but not androstenedione or DHEA, was independently associated with end-of-treatment ITT by multivariate linear regression.

Conclusion(s): Serum 17OH-P is highly correlated with ITT in gonadotropin-suppressed normal men receiving T and stimulated with hCG. Serum 17OH-P is a surrogate biomarker of ITT and may be useful in research and in men receiving gonadotropin therapy for infertility.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone / blood*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Androstenedione / analysis
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Male / administration & dosage
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / analysis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gonadotropins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / blood
  • Infertility, Male / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Testis / chemistry*
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testosterone / analysis*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Contraceptive Agents, Male
  • Gonadotropins
  • Placebos
  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone