We studied endocrine functions at baseline and after TRH and LHRH stimulation in a group of 7 young male patients with genetic hemochromatosis (HE) without liver damage (i.e. fibrosis and cirrhosis). In five patients endocrine re-evaluations after complete iron depletion was also performed. Mean basal testosterone (T), FSH, LH and PRL were significantly lower than in controls. Serum T increased normally after HCG stimulation. The normal or high increments of LH after LHRH stimulation suggest that secretion capacity of LH was intact and that hypothalamic dysfunction could be responsible for the preclinical gonadal deficiency found in our patients. The response of PRL to TRH indicates that secretion capacity of lactotrophs although present, was decreased and did not improve after phlebotomy therapy. After iron depletion the two patients with the lowest basal T levels showed the highest increments indicating that in the early stages of hypothalamic-pituitary damage gonadal dysfunction is still reversible in HE patients.
Piperno, A., Rivolta, M., D'Alba, R., Fargion, S., Rovelli, F., Ghezzi, A., et al. (1992). Preclinical hypogonadism in genetic hemochromatosis in the early stage of the disease: evidence of hypothalamic dysfunction. JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION, 15(6), 423-428.