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Comparative characteristics of endocrine profile in males with infertility as well as in adolescents with varicocele

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Introduction. Male infertility poses a pressing issue due to escalating prevalence of males with reproductive system diseases, the most common among which is varicocele being diagnosed in childhood and adolescence. Measuring level of hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, and estradiol is the key element while assessing the reproductive male potential.

Aim: to compare the parameters of hormonal status in adolescents with varicocele as well as males with diagnosed infertility and identify predictors of hypogonadism in pubertal period.

Materials and Methods. Males with diagnosed infertility as well fertile males underwent a single measurement of serum FSH, LH, testosterone and estradiol levels. Adolescents with/without varicocele were measured the serum hormones noted above in dynamics annually between studies for the period within the 14 to 17 years of age. The data obtained were compared in infertile and fertile males, adolescents with/without varicocele, as well as assessed hormone status between different age groups in both cohorts and adolescents aged 17 years.

Results. Our study allowed to identify significant differences in hormone level in male patients with infertility and varicocele lacking reproductive pathology. Infertile males had significantly higher levels of LH and estradiol (for both: p < 0.001). The LH level in infertile vs. fertile males was 5.01 ± 2.69 IU/L vs. 3.40 ± 1.17 IU/L, respectively, whereas estradiol level was 136.51 ± 92.79 pmol/l and 82.49 ± 48.33 pmol/l, respectively that might indicate at lowered testosterone level. Fifteenand sixteen-year-old-adolescents with varicocele had significantly lower LH level: 15 years old – 3.72 ± 1.92 IU/L vs. 2.71 ± 1.65 IU/L (p < 0.0123) in subjects without vs. with varicocele; 16 years old – 3.42 ± 1.16 IU/L vs. 2.81 ± 1.66 IU/L (p < 0.0381) in subjects without vs. with varicocele. It may account for decreased testosterone level. Active puberty in adolescents is accompanied by dynamically increased testosterone levels. Starting from the age of 15 years, adolescents with varicocele had significantly increased testosterone level in each subsequent age group. Thus, at 14 and 15 years of age, testosterone level in adolescents with varicocele was 10.61 ± 4.70 nmol/l and 13.60 ± 5.64 nmol/l (p < 0.0001), respectively, whereas at 16 and 17 years of age it continued to rise reaching 16.65 ± 6.44 nmol/l (p < 0.001) and 19.22 ± 7.36 nmol/l (p < 0.0160), respectively. In contrast, age-matched adolescents without varicocele had significantly elevated testosterone level solely at age of 15 vs. 14 years. Whereas at 14 years of age testosterone level in comparison group was 15.73 ± 7.2 nmol/l, at 15 years of age it was significantly increased up to 21.45 ± 9.51 nmol/l (p < 0.0113). In the subsequent age categories of this group, no significant difference in testosterone level was found. While comparing such parameter between the main and control adolescent groups, testosterone level was significantly higher in adolescents lacking varicocele at the age of 14, 15 and 16 years compared with age-matched subjects with varicocele. At 14 years of age, testosterone level in adolescents without/with varicocele was 15.73 ± 7.2 nmol/l vs. 10.61 ± 4.7 nmol/l (p < 0.0007), respectively, at 15 years of age – 21.45 ± 9.57 nmol/l vs. 13.60 ± 5.64 nmol/l (p < 0.0001), respectively, at 16 years of age – 20.02 ± 5.84 nmol/l vs. 16.65 ± 6.44 nmol/l (p < 0.0268), respectively. The FSH level in infertile males and adolescents with varicocele was 5.16 ± 2.67 IU/L and 4.1 ±

2.63 IU/L (p < 0.0081), whereas LH level was 5.01 ± 2.69 IU/L and 2.76 ± 1.65 IU/L (p < 0.04), respectively. In adolescents with varicocele and infertile males, estradiol level was 177.45 ± 70.63 pmol/l and 136.51 ± 92.79 pmol/l (p < 0.001), respectively. While comparing hormone levels in fertile males and adolescents lacking varicocele, a significantly higher estradiol level was found in adolescents 181,87 ± 27.14 pmol/l vs. 82.49 ± 48.33 pmol/l (p < 0.001).

Conclusion. A study of the hormonal status in infertile vs. fertile males revealed decreased testosterone production accompanied with higher levels of LH and estradiol. Due to profound changes in LH and testosterone levels detected in adolescents with varicocele as well as in infertile males, it is plausible that such hormones may serve as predictors of hypogonadism in the pubertal period. Adolescents with varicocele taking into consideration progressive course of the disease and verified lower testosterone level require further monitoring of hormone level to prevent endocrine infertility.

About the Author

S. V. Pichugova
Institute of Immunology and Physiology, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences; Sverdlovsk region «Clinical and Diagnostic Center Ekaterinburg city»
Russian Federation

Svetlana V. Pichugova – MD, PhD, Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Immunopathophysiology, Institute of Immunology and Physiology, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Science; Doctor of the highest category, Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, Clinical and Diagnostic Center Ekaterinburg City

106 Pervomaiskaya Str., Еkaterinburg 620049; 
78В Str. 8 Marta, Еkaterinburg 620144




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For citations:

Pichugova S.V. Comparative characteristics of endocrine profile in males with infertility as well as in adolescents with varicocele. Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproduction. 2021;15(2):156-165. (In Russ.)

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