W F Crowley

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (174)1276.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A genome-wide association study has identified three loci (five independent signals) that confer risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in Han Chinese women. Replication is necessary to determine whether the same variants confer risk for PCOS in women of European ancestry. The objective of the study was to test whether these PCOS risk variants in Han Chinese women confer risk for PCOS in women of European ancestry. This was a case-control study. The study was conducted at deCODE Genetics in Iceland and two academic medical centers in the United States. Cases were 376 Icelandic women and 565 and 203 women from Boston, MA, and Chicago, IL, respectively, all diagnosed with PCOS by the National Institutes of Health criteria. Controls were 16,947, 483, and 189 women not known to have PCOS from Iceland, Boston, and Chicago, respectively. There were no interventions. Main outcomes were allele frequencies for seven variants in PCOS cases and controls. Two strongly correlated Han Chinese PCOS risk variants on chromosome 9q33.3, rs10986105[C], and rs10818854[A], were replicated in samples of European ancestry with odds ratio of 1.68 (P = 0.00033) and odds ratio of 1.53 (P = 0.0019), respectively. Other risk variants at 2p16.3 (rs13405728), 2p21 (rs12468394, rs12478601, and rs13429458), and 9q33.3 (rs2479106), or variants correlated with them, did not associate with PCOS. The same allele of rs10986105 that increased the risk of PCOS also increased the risk of hyperandrogenism in women without PCOS from Iceland and demonstrated a stronger risk for PCOS defined by the National Institutes of Health criteria than the Rotterdam criteria. We replicated one of the five Chinese PCOS association signals, represented by rs10986105 and rs10818854 on 9q33, in individuals of European ancestry. Examination of the subjects meeting at least one of the Rotterdam criteria for PCOS suggests that the variant may be involved in the hyperandrogenism and possibly the irregular menses of PCOS.
    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 04/2012; 97(7):E1342-7. · 6.31 Impact Factor
  • William F Crowley
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 06/2011; 346(1-2):1-3. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kallmann syndrome (KS) is the combination of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and anosmia or hyposmia, two features that are also frequently present in CHARGE syndrome. CHARGE syndrome is caused by mutations in the CHD7 gene. We performed analysis of CHD7 in 36 patients with KS and 20 patients with normosmic idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (nIHH) in whom mutations in KAL1, FGFR1, PROK2 and PROKR2 genes were excluded. Three of 56 KS/nIHH patients had de novo mutations in CHD7. In retrospect, these three CHD7-positive patients showed additional features that are seen in CHARGE syndrome. CHD7 mutations can be present in KS patients who have additional features that are part of the CHARGE syndrome phenotype. We did not find mutations in patients with isolated KS. These findings imply that patients diagnosed with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and anosmia should be screened for clinical features consistent with CHARGE syndrome. If such features are present, particularly deafness, dysmorphic ears and/or hypoplasia or aplasia of the semicircular canals, CHD7 sequencing is recommended.
    Clinical Genetics 12/2008; 75(1):65-71. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    S B Seminara, W F Crowley
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    ABSTRACT: In order to find novel modulators of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion, genetic tools were employed in patients with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (IHH). Mutations in a G-protein coupled receptor, GPR54, were identified, making this receptor a genetic determinant and indisputable gatekeeper of normal reproductive function. This article places these investigations into historical context and reviews some of the new findings relevant to this pathway.
    Journal of Neuroendocrinology 07/2008; 20(6):727-31. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) due to defects of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion and/or action is a developmental disorder of sexual maturation. To date, several single-gene defects have been implicated in the pathogenesis of IHH. However, significant inter- and intrafamilial variability and apparent incomplete penetrance in familial cases of IHH are difficult to reconcile with the model of a single-gene defect. We therefore hypothesized that mutations at different IHH loci interact in some families to modify their phenotypes. To address this issue, we studied 2 families, one with Kallmann syndrome (IHH and anosmia) and another with normosmic IHH, in which a single-gene defect had been identified: a heterozygous FGF receptor 1 (FGFR1) mutation in pedigree 1 and a compound heterozygous gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GNRHR) mutation in pedigree 2, both of which varied markedly in expressivity within and across families. Further candidate gene screening revealed a second heterozygous deletion in the nasal embryonic LHRH factor (NELF) gene in pedigree 1 and an additional heterozygous FGFR1 mutation in pedigree 2 that accounted for the considerable phenotypic variability. Therefore, 2 different gene defects can synergize to produce a more severe phenotype in IHH families than either alone. This genetic model could account for some phenotypic heterogeneity seen in GnRH deficiency.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 03/2007; 117(2):457-63. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Rotterdam criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) defines discrete subgroups whose phenotypes are not yet clear. The phenotypic characteristics of women in the PCOS subgroups defined by the Rotterdam criteria were compared. The study was observational. Subjects were studied in an outpatient setting in Boston and Reykjavik. Four subgroups of subjects with PCOS defined by 1) irregular menses (IM), hyperandrogenism (HA), and polycystic ovary morphology (PCOM, n = 298); 2) IM/HA (n = 7); 3) HA/PCOM (n = 77); and 4) IM/PCOM (n = 36) and a group of controls (n = 64), aged 18-45 yr, were examined. Subjects underwent a physical exam; fasting blood samples for androgens, gonadotropins, and metabolic parameters; and a transvaginal ultrasound. The phenotype was compared between groups. Ninety-seven percent of women with IM/HA had PCOM. Therefore, the groups with and without PCOM were combined. The Ferriman-Gallwey score and androgen levels were highest in the hyperandrogenic groups (IM/HA and HA/PCOM), whereas ovarian volume was higher in all PCOS subgroups compared with controls, as expected based on the definitions of the PCOS subgroups. Body mass index and insulin levels were highest in the IM/HA subgroup. Subjects with PCOS defined by IM/HA are the most severely affected women on the basis of androgen levels, ovarian volumes, and insulin levels. Their higher body mass index partially accounts for the increased insulin levels, suggesting that weight gain exacerbates the symptoms of PCOS.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 01/2007; 91(12):4842-8. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phenotype of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is variable, depending on the ethnic background. The phenotypes of women with PCOS in Iceland and Boston were compared. The study was observational with a parallel design. Subjects were studied in an outpatient setting. Women, aged 18-45 yr, with PCOS defined by hyperandrogenism and fewer than nine menses per year, were examined in Iceland (n = 105) and Boston (n = 262). PCOS subjects underwent a physical exam, fasting blood samples for androgens, gonadotropins, metabolic parameters, and a transvaginal ultrasound. The phenotype of women with PCOS was compared between Caucasian women in Iceland and Boston and among Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian women in Boston. Androstenedione (4.0 +/- 1.3 vs. 3.5 +/- 1.2 ng/ml; P < 0.01) was higher and testosterone (54.0 +/- 25.7 vs. 66.2 +/- 35.6 ng/dl; P < 0.01), LH (23.1 +/- 15.8 vs. 27.6 +/- 16.2 IU/liter; P < 0.05), and Ferriman Gallwey score were lower (7.1 +/- 6.0 vs. 15.4 +/- 8.5; P < 0.001) in Caucasian Icelandic compared with Boston women with PCOS. There were no differences in fasting blood glucose, insulin, or homeostasis model assessment in body mass index-matched Caucasian subjects from Iceland or Boston or in different ethnic groups in Boston. Polycystic ovary morphology was demonstrated in 93-100% of women with PCOS in all ethnic groups. The data demonstrate differences in the reproductive features of PCOS without differences in glucose and insulin in body mass index-matched populations. These studies also suggest that measuring androstenedione is important for the documentation of hyperandrogenism in Icelandic women. Finally, polycystic ovary morphology by ultrasound is an almost universal finding in women with PCOS as defined by hyperandrogenism and irregular menses.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 11/2006; 91(11):4361-8. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kisspeptins are products of the KiSS-1 gene, which bind to a G protein-coupled receptor known as GPR54. Mutations or targeted disruptions in the GPR54 gene cause hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in humans and mice, suggesting that kisspeptin signaling may be important for the regulation of gonadotropin secretion. To examine the effects of kisspeptin-54 (metastin) and kisspeptin-10 (the biologically active C-terminal decapeptide) on gonadotropin secretion in the mouse, we administered the kisspeptins directly into the lateral cerebral ventricle of the brain and demonstrated that both peptides stimulate LH secretion. Further characterization of kisspeptin-54 demonstrated that it stimulated both LH and FSH secretion, at doses as low as 1 fmol; moreover, this effect was shown to be blocked by pretreatment with acyline, a potent GnRH antagonist. To learn more about the functional anatomy of kisspeptins, we mapped the distribution of KiSS-1 mRNA in the hypothalamus. We observed that KiSS-1 mRNA is expressed in areas of the hypothalamus implicated in the neuroendocrine regulation of gonadotropin secretion, including the anteroventral periventricular nucleus, the periventricular nucleus, and the arcuate nucleus. We conclude that kisspeptin-GPR54 signaling may be part of the hypothalamic circuitry that governs the hypothalamic secretion of GnRH.
    Endocrinology 10/2004; 145(9):4073-7. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Measurement of estradiol (E(2)) plays a critical role in the diagnosis and clinical management of reproductive disorders. The challenge for all currently available direct methods for measuring E(2) is to provide accuracy and precision across a wide dynamic range. METHODS: We describe the development and multi-site performance evaluation of a direct E(2) assay on the Architect i2000. Assay performance and method comparisons were performed by testing specimens from men, healthy women with regular menstrual cycles, and post-menopausal women using the Architect assay and isotope dilution, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (ID/GC-MS). Reference intervals were established by testing prospectively collected daily blood draws from 42 healthy women, 72 postmenopausal women and 101 males. RESULTS: No unexpected cross-reactivity or interference was observed for over 40 compounds tested. Recovery was 100+/-10% in the presence of estrone and estriol. Functional sensitivity (%CV<20%) was <15 pg/ml.(1) The imprecision of the assay was <7.1% (total CV), <2.5%, and <2.3% for control sera containing 45, 190, and 600 pg/ml estradiol, respectively. The assay had a correlation of y=1.033 x+0.3156, r(2)=0.99, n=131 compared to ID/GC-MS. Reference intervals for the current Architect Estradiol assay are reported. CONCLUSIONS: Format changes resulted in dramatic improvement in the performance and accuracy of this direct, fully automated assay. The assay is standardized by ID/GC-MS. The assay is clinically useful for serum concentrations from 15 to >4000 pg/ml
    Clin Chim Acta. 01/2002; 388(1-2):99-105.
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of FSH secretion in the male involves a complex balance between stimulation by GnRH from the hypothalamus, inhibitory feedback by sex steroids (T and E2) and inhibin B (Inh B) from the gonads, and autocrine/paracrine modulation by activin and follistatin within the pituitary. The aim of the present study was to delineate the feedback control of FSH in the human male with specific reference to the relative roles of sex steroids vs. Inh B. Two experimental human models were used: 1) normal (NL) men subjected to acute sex steroid withdrawal (-T, -E2, + Inh B), and 2) functional castrate males (-T, -E2, -Inh B). Nine NL men (age range, 25-45 yr) and three castrate males (age range, 23-47 yr) were studied. The NL men underwent acute sex steroid suppression using high dose ketoconazole (1-g loading dose, followed by 400 mg, orally, four times daily for 150 h). Gonadotropin secretion was characterized by frequent blood sampling every 10 min for 12 h at baseline and on d 3 and 6 of sex steroid ablation. In the three castrate subjects, blood sampling was performed every 5 min for 24 h 8 wk after discontinuing androgen replacement therapy. In the NL men, treatment with ketoconazole resulted in a decline to castrate levels in T (451 +/- 20 to 38 +/- 7 ng/dl; P < 0.0005) and E2 (39 +/- 4 to 15 +/- 2 pg/ml; P < 0.005) and a modest, but significant, decline in Inh B levels, which remained within the normal range (183 +/- 19 to 136 +/- 13 pg/ml; P < 0.005). This suppression of sex steroids was associated with a more marked increase in mean LH (9.5 +/- 0.9 to 24.9 +/- 2.0 IU/liter; P < 0.0001) than FSH levels (5.1 +/- 0.7 to 10.0 +/- 1.5 IU/liter; P < 0.005), with the latter not exceeding the normal adult male range. The castrate subjects had a mean T level of 66 +/- 8 ng/dl, an E2 level of 20 +/- 1 pg/ml, and undetectable Inh B levels. Despite a similar sex steroid milieu, the mean FSH levels observed in NL men after acute sex steroid ablation were approximately 6-fold lower than those seen in the castrate subjects (10.0 +/- 1.5 vs. 59.5 +/- 17.7 IU/liter; P < 0.0005). In contrast, mean LH levels in the NL men were less than 3-fold lower than those in castrate subjects (24.9 +/- 2.0 vs. 66.8 +/- 20.1 IU/liter; P < 0.005). From this human model of acute sex steroid withdrawal, we conclude that Inh B is likely to be the major feedback regulator of FSH secretion in the human male.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 11/2001; 86(11):5541-6. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The physical changes that herald the onset of puberty result from the combination of adrenarche and gonadarche. To examine adrenal maturation and associated changes in growth without the confounding effects of changes in the gonadal steroid milieu, we performed a longitudinal study in 14 young girls with idiopathic central precocious puberty during long-term pituitary-gonadal suppression. Beginning at the mean age of 2.9 yr, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels, linear growth, skeletal maturation, body mass index, and secondary sexual development were evaluated at 3- to 6-month intervals for up to 12.3 yr. In 12 of the girls, levels of dehydroepiandrosterone, androstenedione, 17-hydroxypregnenolone, and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone were determined before and after acute ACTH stimulation every 6 months to investigate the maturation of adrenal steroidogenic enzyme activity. Serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels rose progressively throughout the study. An exponential model fit the longitudinal datasets well and indicated that dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels increased approximately 22%/yr from the youngest age onward. Increasing activity of 17-20 lyase (CYP17) and decreasing activity of 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase were also evident in preadrenarchal subjects. When controlled for chronological age, no significant associations were noted between weight, body mass index, or body surface area and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels. However, similar analyses revealed modest correlations of both height and growth velocity with dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels. Our results suggest that adrenarche is not the result of sudden rapid changes in adrenal enzyme activities or adrenal androgen concentrations; rather, adrenarche may be a gradual maturational process that begins in early childhood.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 10/2001; 86(9):4536-42. · 6.43 Impact Factor
  • S B Seminara, W F Crowley
    Endocrinology 07/2001; 142(6):2173-7. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the GnRH receptor (GnRH-R) gene have been reported to cause idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH). Herein, we describe a 26-yr-old male with a mild phenotypic form of IHH, the fertile eunuch syndrome (IHH in the presence of normal testicular size and some degree of spermatogenesis), associated with a homozygous mutation (Gln106Arg) in the GnRH-R. This mutation, located in the first extracellular loop of the GnRH-R, has been previously shown to decrease but not eliminate GnRH binding. The proband had hypogonadal testosterone levels, detectable but apulsatile gonadotropin secretion, and a normal adult male testicular size of 17 mL at baseline. After only 4 months of treatment with hCG alone, he developed sperm in his ejaculate and his wife conceived. Following cessation of hCG therapy, the patient demonstrated reversal of his hypogonadotropism as evidenced by normal adult male testosterone levels and the appearance of pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion. This case thus expands the emerging clinical spectrum of GnRH-R mutations, provides the first genetic basis for the fertile eunuch variant of IHH and documents the occurrence of reversible IHH in a patient with a GnRH-R mutation.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 07/2001; 86(6):2470-5. · 6.43 Impact Factor
  • William F. Crowley, Samuel O. Thier
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    ABSTRACT: The authors describe the first five years, 1996-2000, of the Clinical Research Program (CRP) at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The CRP was established to improve the quality and increase the quantity of clinical research within the MGH, and has concentrated on three areas: translational research, clinical trials, and outcomes research/epidemiology. The authors describe the CRP's efforts and strategies in these areas in detail, and explain the nature of the workforce, training, resources, and other factors that the CRP has brought to bear in fostering the goals in each area. The CRP's organization is also described, focusing on its administrative core and five units (e.g., the Education Unit), each of which has a distinct function in fostering clinical research. The success of the CRP's work can be measured in several ways, including greatly increased revenues from clinical trials and a large jump in the numbers of registrants for CRP courses. The authors state that CRP-type programs are essential for academic health centers (AHCs) that wish to maintain a balanced portfolio in clinical investigation in the future. They believe that AHCs that can afford to should invest in fostering their unique ability to train clinical investigators and generate new therapies for the future.
    Academic Medicine 06/2001; 76(5):403-9. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kallmann syndrome (KS) consists of congenital, isolated, idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) and anosmia. The gene responsible for the X-linked form of KS, KAL, encodes a protein, anosmin, that plays a key role in the migration of GnRH neurons and olfactory nerves to the hypothalamus. In addition to X-linked pedigrees, autosomal dominant and recessive kindreds with KS have been reported. The relative importance of these autosomal vs. X-linked genes in producing KS, and the frequency of KAL mutations, are currently unknown because these are rare disorders and large series are unusual. We examined 101 individuals with IHH (+/- anosmia) and their families to determine their modes of inheritance, incidence of mutations in the coding sequence of KAL, genotype-phenotype correlations, and [in a subset (n = 38)] their neuroendocrine phenotype. Of the 101 patients, 59 had true KS (IHH + anosmia/hyposmia); whereas, in the remaining 42, no anosmia was evident in the patients or their families. Of the 59 KS patients, 21 were familial, whereas 38 were sporadic cases. Mutations in the coding sequence of KAL were identified in only 3 of 21 familial cases (14%) and 4 of 38 (11%) of the sporadic cases. Of the X-linked cases confirmed by mutational analysis, only 1 of 3 pedigrees appeared X-linked by inspection whereas the other 2 contained only affected brothers. Female members of known KAL mutation families (n = 3) exhibited no reproductive phenotype and were not anosmic, whereas families with anosmic women (n = 3) were not found to carry mutations in KAL. Mutations were uniformly absent in nonanosmic IHH probands (n = 42), as well as in families with both anosmic and nonanosmic members (n = 2). Overall, 4 novel mutations were identified (C172R, R191x, R457x, and delC@L600). With respect to neuroendocrine phenotype, KS men with documented KAL mutations (n = 8) had completely apulsatile LH secretion, whereas those with autosomal modes of inheritance demonstrated a more variable spectrum with evidence of enfeebled (but present) GnRH-induced LH pulses. Our conclusions are: 1) Confirmed mutations in the coding sequence of the KAL gene occur in the minority of KS cases, i.e. only 14% of familial and 11% of sporadic cases; 2) The majority of familial (and presumably sporadic) cases of KS are caused by defects in at least two autosomal genes that are currently unknown; 3) Obligate female carriers in families with KAL mutations have no discernible phenotype; 4) KAL mutations are uniformly absent in patients with either normosmic IHH or in families with both anosmic and nonanosmic individuals; and 5) Patients with KAL mutations have apulsatile LH secretion consistent with a complete absence of GnRH migration of GnRH cells into the hypothalamus, whereas evidence of present (but enfeebled) GnRH-induced LH pulses may be present in autosomal KS cases. Taken together, these findings suggest that autosomal genes account for the majority of familial cases of KS, and that unique neuroendocrine phenotypes consistent with some GnRH neuronal migration may exist in these patients.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 05/2001; 86(4):1532-8. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the GnRH receptor (GNRHR) have been described as a cause of reproductive failure in a subset of patients with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH). Given the apparent rarity of these mutations, we set out to determine the frequency and distribution of GNRHR mutations in a heterogeneous population of patients with IHH who were well characterized with respect to diagnosis, phenotype, and mode of inheritance and to define their distribution within the receptor protein. One hundred and eight probands with IHH were screened for mutations in the coding sequence of GNRHR. Forty-eight of the 108 patients had a normal sense of smell, whereas the remaining 60 had anosmia or hyposmia (Kallmann syndrome). Exon segments in the GNRHR were screened for mutations using temperature gradient gel electrophoresis, and all mutations were confirmed by direct sequencing. Five unrelated probands (3 men and 2 women), all normosmic, were documented to have changes in the coding sequence of the GNRHR. Two of these probands were from a subgroup of 5 kindreds consistent with a recessive mode of inheritance, establishing a GNRHR mutation frequency of 2 of 5 (40%) in patients with normosmic, autosomal recessive IHH. The remaining 3 probands with GNRHR mutations were from a subgroup of 18 patients without evidence of familial involvement, indicating a prevalence of 3 of 18 (16.7%) in patients with sporadic IHH and a normal sense of smell. Among the five individuals bearing GNRHR mutations, a broad spectrum of phenotypes was noted, including testicular sizes in the male that varied from prepubertal to the normal adult male range. Three probands had compound heterozygous mutations, and two had homozygous mutations. Of the eight DNA sequence changes identified, four were novel: Thr(32)Ile, Cys(200)Tyr, Leu(266)Arg, and Cys(279)TYR: COS-7 cells transiently transfected with complementary DNAs encoding the human GNRHR containing each of these four novel mutations failed to respond to GnRH agonist stimulation. We conclude that 1) the spectrum of phenotypes in patients with GNRHR mutations is much broader than originally anticipated; 2) the frequency of GNRHR mutations may be more common than previously appreciated in familial cases of normosmic IHH and infrequent in sporadic cases; and 3) functional mutations of the GNRHR are distributed widely throughout the protein.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 05/2001; 86(4):1580-8. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of sex steroid regulation of gonadotropin secretion in the human male have focused primarily on the respective site(s) of negative feedback of testosterone (T) and estradiol (E(2)). The use of pharmacological doses of sex steroids in these studies has precluded conclusions about the relative roles of T and E(2) in gonadotropin feedback. Thus, the aims of the present study were to 1) determine the relative contributions of T vs. E(2) to the sex steroid component of gonadotropin regulation, and 2) distinguish the feedback effects of T that that are direct (i.e. mediated by the androgen receptor) vs. indirect (mediated by aromatization to E(2)). Two experimental interventions were used: 1) inhibition of aromatization by a selective aromatase inhibitor to examine the impact of selective E(2) withdrawal; and 2) acute medical castration to examine the effect of ablating both T and E(2). Sixteen normal (NL) men (mean age, 30.5 +/- 2.2 yr) were studied. Nine NL subjects were treated with the aromatase inhibitor, anastrozole (10 mg, orally, daily, for 5 days). Twelve NL men underwent medical castration with ketoconazole (1-g loading dose followed by 400 mg, orally, four times a day for 5 days). Ketoconazole-treated subjects received concomitant treatment with dexamethasone (0.5 mg twice daily) to prevent the development of adrenal insufficiency. Single blood samples were drawn daily between 0800-1000 h. To ensure that dexamethasone was not altering the gonadotropin response to sex steroid ablation by a direct pituitary effect, five GnRH-deficient men (mean age, 37.6 +/- 3.9 yr) underwent GnRH dose-response studies at baseline and after treatment with dexamethasone (0.5 mg twice daily). Aromatase blockade caused significant lowering of E(2) (33 +/- 3 to 14 +/- 1 pg/mL; P: < 0.0005) with a corresponding increase in T levels (563 +/- 42 to 817 +/- 81 ng/dL; P: < 0.05). Treatment with ketoconazole resulted in equivalent suppression of E(2) (41 +/- 4 to 14 +/- 1 pg/mL; P: < 0.0005), but also induced castrate levels of T (491 +/- 28 to 40 +/- 3 ng/dL; P: < 0.0005). Both treatment regimens were associated with a significant increase in gonadotropin levels. For LH, the percent increase in serum levels after castration was almost 3-fold greater than that seen after selective E(2) withdrawal (275 +/- 23% with ketoconazole vs. 95.6 +/- 21% with anastrozole; P: < 0.005). Despite the divergent changes in T levels with these two maneuvers (a marked decrease after ketoconazole and a significant increase with anastrozole), the percent rise in FSH levels was similar in the two protocols (91 +/- 6% vs. 71 +/- 7%, respectively; P: = NS). Inhibin B levels were unchanged after selective E(2) withdrawal (156 +/- 23 vs. 176 +/- 19 pg/mL), but decreased slightly with ketoconazole (156 +/- 15 to 131 +/- 11 pg/mL; P: < 0.05). In contrast to the effects of glucocorticoid administration on gonadotropin secretion in women, no significant changes were observed in the GnRH-deficient men treated with dexamethasone in terms of mean LH levels (19.8 +/- 3.2 vs. 23.3 +/- 5.4 IU/L), mean LH pulse amplitude after GnRH (16.0 +/- 2.5 vs. 19.0 +/- 5.1 IU/L), or mean FSH levels (8.0 +/- 1.9 vs. 9.2 +/- 2.4 IU/L, pre vs. post). These studies provide evidence of differential regulation of gonadotropin secretion by T in the human male. T exerts both direct and indirect feedback on LH secretion, whereas its effects on FSH appear to be mediated largely by aromatization to E(2). From these data we conclude that in terms of sex steroid feedback, E(2) is the predominant regulator of FSH secretion in the human male.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 02/2001; 86(1):53-8. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Determining the physiologic influences that modulate GnRH secretion, the prime initiator of reproductive function in the human, is fundamental not only to our understanding of the rare condition of congenital idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH), but also common disorders such as constitutional delay of puberty and hypothalamic amenorrhea. IHH is characterized by low levels of sex steroids and gonadotropins, normal findings on radiographic imaging of the hypothalamic-pituitary regions, and normal baseline and reserve testing of the remainder of the hypothalamic-pituitary axes. Failure of the normal pattern of episodic GnRH secretion results in delay of puberty and infertility. IHH is characterized by rich clinical and genetic heterogeneity, variable modes of inheritance, and association with other anomalies. To date, 4 genes have been identified as causes of IHH in the human; KAL [the gene for X-linked Kallmann syndrome (IHH and anosmia)], DAX1 [the gene for X-linked adrenal hypoplasia congenita (IHH and adrenal insufficiency)], GNRHR (the GnRH receptor), and PC1 (the gene for prohormone convertase 1, causing a syndrome of IHH and defects in prohormone processing). As these mutations account for less than 20% of all IHH cases, discovery of additional gene mutations will continue to advance our understanding of this intriguing syndrome.
    Journal of endocrinological investigation 11/2000; 23(9):560-5. · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The preponderance of evidence states that, in adult men, estradiol (E2) inhibits LH secretion by decreasing pulse amplitude and responsiveness to GnRH consistent with a pituitary site of action. However, this conclusion is based on studies that employed pharmacologic doses of sex steroids, used nonselective aromatase inhibitors, and/or were performed in normal (NL) men, a model in which endogenous counterregulatory adaptations to physiologic perturbations confound interpretation of the results. In addition, studies in which estrogen antagonists were administered to NL men demonstrated an increase in LH pulse frequency, suggesting a potential additional hypothalamic site of E2 feedback. To reconcile these conflicting data, we used a selective aromatase inhibitor, anastrozole, to examine the impact of E2 suppression on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis in the male. Parallel studies of NL men and men with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH), whose pituitary-gonadal axis had been normalized with long-term GnRH therapy, were performed to permit precise localization of the site of E2 feedback. In this so-called tandem model, a hypothalamic site of action of sex steroids can thus be inferred whenever there is a difference in the gonadotropin responses of NL and IHH men to alterations in their sex steroid milieu. A selective GnRH antagonist was also used to provide a semiquantitative estimate of endogenous GnRH secretion before and after E2 suppression. Fourteen NL men and seven IHH men were studied. In Exp 1, nine NL and seven IHH men received anastrozole (10 mg/day po x 7 days). Blood samples were drawn daily between 0800 and 1000 h in the NL men and immediately before a GnRH bolus dose in the IHH men. In Exp 2, blood was drawn (every 10 min x 12 h) from nine NL men at baseline and on day 7 of anastrozole. In a subset of five NL men, 5 microg/kg of the Nal-Glu GnRH antagonist was administered on completion of frequent blood sampling, then sampling continued every 20 min for a further 8 h. Anastrozole suppressed E2 equivalently in the NL (136 +/- 10 to 52 +/-2 pmol/L, P < 0.005) and IHH men (118 +/- 23 to 60 +/- 5 pmol/L, P < 0.005). Testosterone levels rose significantly (P < 0.005), with a mean increase of 53 +/- 6% in NL vs. 56 +/- 7% in IHH men. Despite these similar changes in sex steroids, the increase in gonadotropins was greater in NL than in IHH men (100 +/- 9 vs. 58 +/- 6% for LH, P = 0.07; and 85 +/- 6 vs. 41 +/- 4% for FSH, P < 0.002). Frequent sampling studies in the NL men demonstrated that this rise in mean LH levels, after aromatase blockade, reflected an increase in both LH pulse frequency (10.2 +/- 0.9 to 14.0 +/- 1.0 pulses/24 h, P < 0.05) and pulse amplitude (5.7 +/- 0.7 to 8.4 +/- 0.7 IU/L, P < 0.001). Percent LH inhibition after acute GnRH receptor blockade was similar at baseline and after E2 suppression (69.2 +/- 2.4 vs. 70 +/- 1.9%), suggesting that there was no change in the quantity of endogenous GnRH secreted. From these data, we conclude that in the human male, estrogen has dual sites of negative feedback, acting at the hypothalamus to decrease GnRH pulse frequency and at the pituitary to decrease responsiveness to GnRH.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 10/2000; 85(9):3027-35. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GnRH receptor mutations have recently been identified in a small number of familial cases of nonanosmic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. In the present report we studied a kindred in which two sisters with primary amenorrhea were affected with GnRH deficiency due to a compound heterozygote mutation (Gln(106)Arg, Arg(262)Gln) and performed extensive phenotyping studies. Baseline patterns of gonadotropin secretion and gonadotropin responsiveness to exogenous pulsatile GnRH were examined in the proband. Low amplitude pulses of both LH and free alpha-subunit (FAS) were detected during 24 h of every 10 min blood sampling. The proband then received exogenous pulsatile GnRH i.v. for ovulation induction, and daily blood samples for gonadotropins and sex steroids were monitored. At the conventional GnRH replacement dose for women with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (75 ng/kg), no follicular development occurred. At a GnRH dose of 100 ng/kg, the level and pattern of gonadotropin secretion more closely mimicked the follicular phase of normal women; a single dominant follicle was recruited, and an endogenous LH surge was elicited. However, the luteal phase was inadequate, as assessed by progesterone levels. At a GnRH dose of 250 ng/kg, the gonadotropin and sex steroid dynamics reproduced those of normal ovulatory women in both the follicular and luteal phases, and the proband conceived. The FAS responses to both conventional and high dose GnRH were within the normal range. The following conclusions were made: 1) Increased doses of GnRH may be used effectively for ovulation induction in some patients with GnRH receptor mutations. 2) Higher doses of GnRH are required for normal luteal phase dynamics than for normal follicular phase function. 3) Hypersecretion of FAS in response to exogenous GnRH, which is a feature of congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, was not seen in this patient with a GnRH receptor mutation.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 03/2000; 85(2):556-62. · 6.43 Impact Factor

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7k Citations
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Institutions

  • 1984–2011
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • • Reproductive Endocrine Unit
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Radiology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Riley Hospital for Children
      Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • 1984–2001
    • Boston Children's Hospital
      • • Division of Endocrinology
      • • Children's Hospital Primary Care Center
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1996–2000
    • Northwestern University
      • Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine
      Evanston, IL, United States
  • 1990–1999
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1998
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1994
    • University of Massachusetts Boston
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1991
    • University of Vienna
      Wien, Vienna, Austria