Hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal axis in boys with primary hypothyroidism and macroorchidism

J Pediatr. 1988 Mar;112(3):397-402. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(88)80319-6.


Nine of 15 boys with severe long-standing primary hypothyroidism were found to have macroorchidism. All 15 patients had elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. However, only those patients with testicular enlargement had striking elevations of serum prolactin and gonadotropin values. The response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone in our patients was blunted, in contradistinction to that of children with true precocious puberty. In spite of the elevated levels of luteinizing hormone, the serum testosterone levels were in the prepubertal range, explaining the lack of peripheral manifestations of androgenic effect. Improvement of testosterone secretion followed decreasing prolactin levels with bromocriptine administration, suggesting an inhibitory effect of prolactin on luteinizing hormone action at the Leydig cell. We conclude that testicular enlargement is the result of continuous follicle-stimulating hormone stimulation and that the term "true precocious puberty" is not appropriate in children with hypothyroidism and macroorchidism unless the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal axis is shown to be at the pubertal stage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bromocriptine / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology*
  • Hypothyroidism / pathology
  • Hypothyroidism / physiopathology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Pituitary Hormone-Releasing Hormones
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology*
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Testis / pathology*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Pituitary Hormone-Releasing Hormones
  • Bromocriptine
  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine