Acute modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis by intravenous testosterone in normal women

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Dec;155(6):1288-92. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(86)90161-4.


Intravenous testosterone was infused for 6 hours in 23 ovulatory women, divided into five groups according to dose, to assess the effects of testosterone on gonadotropin secretion. Serum testosterone increased from 0.24 +/- 0.08 to steady-state levels of 1.63 +/- 0.18 ng/ml in the lowest-dose group (1) and to 42.1 +/- 3.3 ng/ml in the highest-dose group (4). In another group (5), patients were pretreated with testolactone, which prevented the estradiol rise associated with testosterone infusion. All groups except group 1 exhibited significant reductions in the delta maximum responses of luteinizing hormone to gonadotropin-releasing hormone during testosterone infusion compared with pretreatment levels (p less than 0.01). This was also evident for the testolactone group (5). There were no observed changes in serum follicle-stimulating hormone. Luteinizing hormone pulse frequency was decreased (p less than 0.05) with testosterone concentrations of 27.2 +/- 0.77 and 42.1 +/- 3.3 ng/ml (groups 3 and 4), but only in the highest group (4) was there a decrease in pulse amplitude (p less than 0.05). No luteinizing hormone pulse changes were observed with lower concentrations of testosterone. Plasma immunoreactive gonadotropin-releasing hormone levels remained undetectable or low in some of the groups sampled. These data suggest that short-term infusions of testosterone inhibit hypothalamic-pituitary function of normal women when high doses are used, and this effect may be independent of aromatization to estrogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors


  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone