Effects of vitamin A deficiency on the function of pituitary-gonadal system in male rats

Nihon Juigaku Zasshi. 1989 Dec;51(6):1209-17. doi: 10.1292/jvms1939.51.1209.


The effects of vitamin A deficiency on the pituitary-gonadal function were examined by measurements of serum and pituitary level of pituitary hormones and serum testosterone concentration, and by investigations of histological changes in the testis and the pituitary gland in vitamin A-deficient (VAD) and supplemented (VAS) rats. The growth of VAD rats was retarded and their body weights were decreased after 9 weeks of experiments and attained about one half of the weight of control animals at 12 weeks. In the VAD rats, serum testosterone concentrations were decreased significantly compared with those in the VAS controls. Serum and pituitary concentrations of GH were significantly lower but those of LH were slightly lower in the VAD rats than those in the controls, while the serum FSH concentration was significantly higher than that in the control rats. The seminiferous tubules in the testes of VAD rats were comprised largely of Sertoli cells and a reduced number of spermatogonia and contained fibrous formation in their lumen. In the pituitary gland, GH cells were significantly reduced in number in the VAD rats, but gonadotropic (GTH) cells were increased remarkably in size and number, showing hypertrophy and vacuolation similar to those in castration cells. The cytological changes in the pituitary gland and the increased discharge of FSH represent a secondary and compensatory change similar to that seen following castration and vitamin E deficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / analysis
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Growth Hormone / analysis
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / analysis
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Pituitary Gland / analysis
  • Pituitary Gland / physiology*
  • Prolactin / analysis
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Seminiferous Tubules / analysis
  • Testis / analysis
  • Testis / physiology*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Thyrotropin / analysis
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Vitamin A / metabolism
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Vitamin A
  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Growth Hormone