Effects of chronic ethanol diet on pituitary-testicular function of the rat

Biol Reprod. 1990 Jan;42(1):55-62. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod42.1.55.


We studied the effects of a 6% ethanol liquid diet administered for 5 wk on the pituitary-gonadal function of adult male rats. Because ethanol is known to reduce body weight, we used sucrose-fed animals as controls. No significant differences in body, testis, or prostate weights were found between the rats exposed to ethanol and their sucrose-fed controls at the end of the 5-week treatment. Seminal vesicle weights decreased significantly (p less than 0.05) in the ethanol-treated group. Serum and testicular testosterone concentrations were significantly reduced in the ethanol-treated group, to 43.6% and 48.3% of levels in the sucrose-fed controls, respectively (p less than 0.05). Serum luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels of the ethanol-treated rats were 37.9% and 41.3%, respectively, of those of the sucrose-fed controls (p less than 0.01-0.05). The pituitary levels of these hormones were similar to those of controls, but the ratios of pituitary LH and FSH to their serum levels were clearly increased after ethanol exposure, to 492% and 206.1%, respectively (p less than 0.05). In contrast, pituitary prolactin (PRL) of the ethanol-treated rats was decreased to 40.2% (p less than 0.01) of sucrose-fed controls. Testicular content of LH receptors was significantly reduced (to 77.0% of controls; p less than 0.01), but content of FSH receptors was slightly increased by the ethanol diet (to 121.5% of sucrose-fed controls; p less than 0.05). No ethanol-associated changes were apparent in testicular PRL and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptors or in pituitary GnRH receptors.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / drug effects*
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Prostate / anatomy & histology
  • Prostate / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Gonadotropin / drug effects
  • Receptors, LHRH / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Prolactin / drug effects
  • Seminal Vesicles / anatomy & histology
  • Seminal Vesicles / drug effects
  • Testis / analysis
  • Testis / anatomy & histology
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Testosterone / analysis
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Receptors, Gonadotropin
  • Receptors, LHRH
  • Receptors, Prolactin
  • Ethanol
  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone