Growth hormone, prolactin, and sexuality

Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology, Section of Endocrinology, University of Naples "Federico II", Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.
Journal of endocrinological investigation (Impact Factor: 1.45). 09/2012; 35(8):782-94. DOI: 10.1007/BF03345805
Source: PubMed


GH and PRL, although not considered as 'classical' sexual hormones, could play a role in the endocrine control of sexual function both in men and women. Physiologically, PRL seems to be involved in the central control of sexual behavior and activity, by modulating mainly the effects of dopaminergic and serotoninergic systems on sexual function. Indeed, circulating PRL levels increase after orgasm and may potentially play a role in the acute regulation of further sexual arousal following orgasm both in men and women. On the other hand, either short-term or long-term PRL increase can modulate central nervous system areas involved in the control of sexual function and, peripherally, can directly influence mechanisms of penile erection in men, and presently only as an hypothesis, mechanisms related to the sexual response of genitalia in women. Furthermore, chronic hyperprolactinemia is classically associated with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and sexual dysfunction in both sexes. Successful treatment of chronic hyperprolactinemia generally restores normal sexual function both in men and women although this effect is not only related to relapse of gonadal function. Hypoprolactinemia is recently recognised as a possible risk factor of arteriogenic erectile dysfunction while a possible role on female sexual function is not known. The physiological role of GH on sexual function is not fully elucidated. GH is an important regulator of hypothalamuspituitary- gonadal axis and seems to participate in the regulation of the sexual response of genitalia in men, and potentially also in women. Sexual function in men and women with GH deficiency (GHD) and GH excess, particularly in acromegaly, is scantily studied and GH- or IGF-I-dependent effects are difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, a decrease of desire and arousability both in men and women, together with an impairment of erectile function in men, have been described both in patients with GHD and acromegaly, although it is not clear whether they are dependent directly on the hormone defect or excess or they are consequence of the hypogonadism or the different clinical complications or the physical disfigurement and psychological imbalance, which are associated with the diseases, and are potentially affecting sexual function. Data on beneficial effects of GH replacement therapy and specific surgical or pharmacological approach for acromegaly are far to be fully elucidated although restoring normal GH/IGF-I levels have been associated to improvement of sexual function.

57 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to assess female sexual dysfunction (FSD), quality of life and depression status in female patients with acromegaly. Fifty-seven sexually active female patients with acromegaly disease (21 controlled, 36 uncontrolled) monitored by Cerrahpasa Medical School, Endocrinology and Metabolism out-patient clinic and age and body mass index-matched 46 healthy female subjects were included in the study. Sexual functions and status of depression in both patient and control groups were evaluated by using the Female Sexual Function Index Form (FSFI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), respectively. Quality of life was evaluated by using the Acromegaly Quality of Life (AcroQoL) Scale. Hormone levels were studied in the groups. The FSFI total score and desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction domains in patients with acromegaly were significantly lower than in the healthy controls (p= <0.0001). There was no difference between biochemically controlled and uncontrolled patients with acromegaly with respect to FSFI scores (p= 0.7). AcroQoL total score in female patients with controlled acromegaly and uncontrolled acromegaly were 46.33±16.5% and 50.13±18.21%, respectively (p= 0.53). The difference in BDI scores between controlled and uncontrolled acromegaly patients was not significant but they were significantly higher in the control group (p= <0.0001). In the correlation analysis, a negative correlation was found between FSFI total and BDI score (r= -0.69, p< 0.001), age (r= -0.45, p< 0.001), and IGF-I (r= -0.28, p= 0.006). This study showed that sexual dysfunction and depression rates in female patients with acromegaly are higher than in healthy females.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Endocrine Journal
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescents are one of the highest groups at risk for sustaining both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and repeat TBI (RTBI). Consequences of endocrine dysfunction following TBI have been routinely explored in adults, but studies in juveniles are limited and show an incidence rate of endocrine dysfunction in 16 - 61% in patients, 1 - 5 years after injury. Similar to adults the most commonly affected axis is growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth hormone 1 (IGF-1). Despite TBI being the #1 cause of morbidity and mortality among the pediatric population there are currently no experimental studies specifically addressing the occurrence of pituitary dysfunction in adolescents. The present study investigated whether a sham, single injury or 4 repeat injuries (24 hr interval) delivered to adolescent rats resulted in disruption of the GH/IGF-1 axis. Circulating levels of basal GH and IGF-1 were measured at baseline, 24 hrs, 72 hrs, 1 week and 1 month after injury and vascular permeability of the pituitary gland was quantified via Evans Blue dye extravasation. Changes in weight and length of animals were measured as a potential consequence of GH and IGF-1 disruption. The results from the current study demonstrate that RTBI results in significant acute and chronic decreases in circulation GH and IGF-1, reduction in weight gain and growth and an increase in Evans Blue dye extravasation in the pituitary compared to sham and single injury animals. RTBI causes significant disruption of the GH/IGF-1 axis that may ultimately affect normal cognitive and physical development during adolescence.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Journal of neurotrauma
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evaluation for endocrine function is a pivotal part of the male infertility workup. Endocrine dysfunction may result from endogenous and exogenous sources. This article describes the traditional roles that the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal endocrine axis plays in spermatogenesis and testicular dysfunction, as well as other insults that may contribute to hypospermatogenesis. Recent research into the role alternative hormonal axes play in spermatogenesis and promising new technologies that may correct inborn or acquired endocrinopathies leading to impaired sperm growth and maturation are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Urologic Clinics of North America
Show more