The present study was performed to evaluate the involvement of reduced testosterone in ethanol-induced impairment of male reproductive tract development. In vivo and in vitro gonadotropin (hCG)-stimulated steroidogenesis were examined in CFW mice as a function of chronic ethanol treatment during pubertal development. Chronic ethanol treatment from ages 20 to 49 days impaired testicular growth from ages 35 days (29 ± 2 mg vs 37 ± 2 mg for pair-fed controls) to 50 days 42 ± 2 mg vs 63 ± 2 mg for pair-fed controls). Consistent with a reduction in testicular weight, testicular content of androstenedione, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) was depressed in ethanol-treated mice. At age 50 days, the content (expressed as pg/testis) of androstenedione, testosterone, and DHT was reduced in ethanol-treated animals by 49%, 31%, and 38%, respectively, as compared to that of their respective controls. However, no difference in plasma (ng/mL) or testicular (pg/mg protein) concentaations of steroids was observed. Except for the DHT response at ages 35 to 40 days, neither in vivo nor in vitro steroidogenesis was impaired by chronic chronic treatment at ages 26 to 50 days; similarly, the acute ethanol effect on steroidogenesis was unaffected. However, an adaptive increase (54%-173%) in the in vivo testosterone response to hCG was seen at ages 26 to 40 days. The data indicate that 1) chronic ethanol treatment does not impair gonadotropin-stimulated steroidogenesis or result in tolerance to acute ethanol effects on steroidogenesis in older animals; and 2) ethanol-induced reduction in testosterone is not a likely mechanism for delayed sexual maturation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
A~ l, nou ledgements -- The authors thank Ms Jean Arndt for her help m the manuscnpt preparation This work was supported by NIH grant AA06604
- Chronic ethanol effects
- In vitro steroidogenesis
- In vivo steroidogenesis
- Male puberty