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Endocrinology of male puberty

Lewis, Katherine; Lee, Peter A

Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity: February 2009 - Volume 16 - Issue 1 - p 5–9
doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e32832029be
Growth and development: Edited by Lynne L. Levitsky

Purpose of review To review recent information leading to a better understanding of the endocrinology of male puberty, including information from earlier stages of life.

Recent findings Differences in relative levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the neonatal period have been further described, as well as changes in inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone levels. Studies among men with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism suggest a role for the ‘minipuberty of infancy’ in inhibin B levels. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog-stimulated LH levels at the age of puberty may be useful in diagnosing hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Inhibin B levels are likewise useful in monitoring spermatogenic activity.

Summary Data from fetal life (men born small for gestational age with evidence of a defect in steroidogenesis, relatively high LH:FSH ratio among very premature boys), neonatal period (attenuated rise of inhibin B after rFSH stimulation among men with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism), and puberty (often demonstrable by LH levels alone, progressive rise of insulin-like factor 3 levels, and decrease of anti-Müllerian hormone levels as a consequence of FSH and LH stimulation), all enhance the understanding of the physiology of puberty.

Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Correspondence to Peter A. Lee, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Riley Hospital for Children, 702 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA Tel: +1 317 274 3889; fax: +1 317 274 3882; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.