Male acquired hypogonadotropic hypogonadism: diagnosis and treatment
Salenave S, Trabado S, Maione L, Brailly-Tabard S, Young J. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2012 Apr;73(2):141-6. Epub 2012 Apr 25.


UniversitĂ© Paris-Sud, Le Kremlin-BicĂȘtre, France.


Acquired hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (AHH), contrary to congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) is characterized by postnatal onset of disorders that damage or alter the function of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons and/or pituitary gonadotroph cells. AHH thus prevents the establishment of gonadotropin secretion at puberty, or its post-pubertal maintenance. Thus, postnatal AHH may prevent the onset of puberty or appear during pubertal development, but it usually emerges after the normal age of puberty. Although pituitary tumors, particularly prolactinoma, are the most common cause, sellar tumors or cyst of the hypothalamus or infundibulum, infiltrative, vascular, iron overload and other disorders may also cause AHH. Pituitary surgery and head trauma or cranial/pituitary radiation therapy are also usual causes of AHH. The clinical manifestations of AHH depend on age of onset, the degree of gonadotropin deficiency, the rapidity of its onset and the association to other pituitary function deficiencies or excess. Men with AHH have less stamina, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and strength, and a worsened sense of well being leading to degraded quality of life. The physical examination is usually normal if hypogonadism is of recent onset. Diminished facial, body hair and muscle mass, fine facial wrinkles, gynecomastia, and hypotrophic testes are observed in long-standing and complete AHH. Spermatogenesis is impaired and the volume of ejaculate is decreased only when gonadotropins and testosterone levels are very low. Men with AHH may have normal or low serum LH and FSH concentrations, but normal gonadotropin values are inappropriate when associated with low serum testosterone. In the majority of AHH patients, serum inhibin B is "normal". The decrease of this sertolian hormone indicates a long-standing and severe gonadotropin deficiency. Symptoms, usually associated with significant testosterone deficiency in men with AHH, improve with testosterone replacement therapy. Replacement therapy is often simple, using an injectable testosterone ester as first line treatment. Fertility can be restored rather quickly, provided there is no independent primary testicular damage and the partner is fertile.