Dynamic Interactions Between LH and Testosterone in Healthy Community-Dwelling Men: Impact of Age and Body Composition

Ferdinand Roelfsema, Peter Y. Liu, Paul Y. Takahashi, Rebecca J. Yang, Johannes D. Veldhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Aging is associated with diminished testosterone (Te) secretion, which may be attributed to Leydig cell dysfunction, decreased pituitary stimulation, and altered Te feedback. Objective: To study all regulatory nodes -gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and Leydig cell -in the same cohort of healthy men. Study Design: This was a placebo-controlled, blinded, prospectively randomized cross-over study in 40 men, age range 19 to 73 years, and body mass index (BMI) range 20 to 34.3 kg/m2. A submaximal dose of the GnRH antagonist ganirelix was used to assess outflow of GnRH, by calculating the difference between LH output during the control arm and ganirelix arm. Ketoconazole (a steroidogenic inhibitor) was used to estimate feedback, by the difference in LH output during the ketoconazole and control arm. High-dose ganirelix and repeated LH infusions were used to measure testicular responsivity. Blood sampling was performed at 10-minute intervals. Results: There were age-related, but not body composition-related decreases in estimated GnRH secretion, the feedback strength of Te on LH, and Leydig cell responsivity to LH, accompanied by changes in approximate entropy. Bioavailable Te levels were negatively related to both age and computed tomography (CT)-estimated abdominal visceral mass (AVF), without interaction between these variables. The LH response to a submaximal dose of GnRH was independent of age and AVF. Conclusion: Advancing age is associated with (1) attenuated bioavailable Te secretion caused by diminished GnRH outflow and not by decreased GnRH responsivity of the gonadotrope, (2) diminished testicular responsivity to infused LH pulses, and (3) partial compensation by diminished Te feedback on central gonadotropic regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdgz246
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 8 2020


  • aging
  • bioavailable testosterone
  • feedback
  • feedforward
  • ganirelix
  • human

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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