Introduction: Hypersexual disorder as suggested to be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 integrates aspects of sexual desire deregulation, impulsivity, and compulsivity. However, it is unknown how it affects gonadal activity and the function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in hypersexual men compared with healthy controls. Furthermore, we investigated associations between epigenetic markers and hormone levels.
Methods: Basal morning plasma levels of testosterone, LH, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were assessed in 67 hypersexual men (mean age: 39.2 years) compared with 39 age-matched healthy controls (mean age: 37.5 years). The Sexual Compulsivity Scale and the Hypersexual Disorder: Current Assessment Scale were used for assessing hypersexual behavior, the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Scale-self rating was used for depression severity, and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) was used for assessing history of childhood adversity. The genome-wide methylation pattern of more than 850 K CpG sites was measured in whole blood using the Illumina Infinium Methylation EPIC BeadChip. CpG sites located within 2,000 bp of the transcriptional start site of hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) and HPG axis-coupled genes were included.
Main outcome measures: Testosterone and LH plasma levels in association with clinical rating and a secondary outcome was the epigenetic profile of HPA and HPG axis-coupled CpG sites with testosterone and LH levels.
Results: LH plasma levels were significantly higher in patients with hypersexual disorder than in healthy volunteers. No significant differences in plasma testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, and SHBG levels were found between the groups. There were no significant associations between DNA methylation of HPA and HPG axis-coupled genes and plasma testosterone or LH levels after multiple testing corrections.
Conclusions: Subtle dysregulation of the HPG axis, with increased LH plasma levels but no difference in testosterone levels may be present in hypersexual men. Chatzittofis A, Boström AE, Öberg KG, et al. Normal Testosterone but Higher Luteinizing Hormone Plasma Levels in Men With Hypersexual Disorder. Sex Med 2020;8:243-250.
Keywords: Biological Psychiatry; Epigenetics; HPG Axis; Hypersexual Disorder; Testosterone.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.