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Gonadotroph adenomas in men produce biologically active fsh

, : Gonadotroph adenomas in men produce biologically active fsh. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 71(4): 907-912

Gonadotroph adenomas may exhibit qualitative and quantitative defects in gonadotropin biosynthesis and secretion. Hypersecretion of immunoreactive FSH dimers by these adenomas occurs frequently; however, it has not been known whether this FSH is biologically active. Using the granulosa cell aromatase bioassay and a highly specific immunoradiometric assay for FSH, we studied the serum bioactivity and bio- to immunoactivity (B/I) ratios of 14 men with FSH-secreting adenomas and compared these values to those of 11 age-matched normal men. In addition, three adenoma patients received TRH (400 .mu.g, iv). The mean basal serum FSH level (international units per L), as measured by both bio- and immunoassays, and the FSH B/I ratios were significantly higher (P < 0.02, by Kolmogorov-Smirnov test) in the adenoma patients than in normal men (mean .+-. SEM; adenoma patients: bioactivity, 68.8 .+-. 10.4; immunoreactivity, 34.8 .+-. 13.7; B/I ratio, 3.4 .+-. 0.6; normal men: bioactivity, 5.8 .+-. 1.2; immunoreactivity, 6.4 .+-. 0.8; B/I ratio, 0.90 .+-. 0.1). Both bio- and immunoactive FSH rose after TRH injection, resulting in maintenance of the B/I (mean .+-. SEM; pre-TRH: bio-FSH, 63.7 .+-. 22.4; immuno-FSH, 28.0 .+-. 14.1, B/I ratio, 2.8 .+-. 1.2; post-TRH: bio-FSH, 125.6 .+-. 42.7; immuno-FSH, 45.8 .+-. 21.8; B/I ratio, 3.5 .+-. 1.6). When gonadotroph adenoma cells from three separate patients were cultured and their conditioned media (n = 3) studied, relatively large amounts of both bio- and immuno-FSH were detected. Furthermore, the major isoelectric profile of bio-FSH (pH 4.9-3.0) in the conditioned medium from two such adenomas was shown by chromatofocusing to be comparable to that of purified human pituitary FSH (pH 5.2-3.6). We conclude that gonadotroph adenomas in men secrete FSH that is biologically active, both basally and in response to TRH.


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