Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2006;91:892-898.

Hypothalamic and gonadal components of hypogonadism in boys with Prader-Labhart-Willi syndrome.
Eiholzer U, L'Allemand D, Rousson V, Schlumpf M, Gasser T, Girard J, Grüters A, Simoni M.

The specific form of hypogonadism in Prader-Labhart-Willi syndrome (PWS), central or peripheral, remains unexplained.

The objectives of this study were to investigate the cause of hypogonadism in PWS and determine whether human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatment can restore pubertal development.

This was a clinical follow-up study, divided into two samples, over a duration of 1.5 and 4.5 yr.

Eight male infants and six peripubertal boys (age at start of observation, 0.06-0.93 and 8.1-10.8 yr, respectively) with genetically confirmed PWS were studied.

hCG (500-1500 U twice weekly) was given from age 13.5 yr to the present.

Serum FSH, LH, inhibin B, and testosterone levels and pubertal development were the main outcome measures.

Infants with PWS presented normal LH (2.3 +/- 0.7 U/liter) and testosterone (2.5 +/- 0.9 nmol/liter) levels (mean +/- sem at 5 months) compared with the reference range. However, two thirds of the boys displayed cryptorchidism. Inhibin B levels were at the lowest level of the normal range and decreased significantly between infancy and puberty (at 13 yr, 72 +/- 17 pg/ml), whereas FSH secretion increased (9.9 +/- 2.6 U/liter). Pubertal maturation stopped at an average bone age of 13.9 yr. hCG therapy increased testosterone (11 +/- 2 nmol/liter) and reduced FSH (at 16 yr, 1.1 +/- 0.9 U/liter) levels. Testicular volume (5.6 +/- 1 ml) and inhibin B (26.5 +/- 11.9 pg/ml) remained low.

Children with PWS display a specific form of combined hypothalamic (low LH) and peripheral (low inhibin B and high FSH) hypogonadism, suggesting a primary defect in Sertoli and/or germ cell maturation or an early germ cell loss. hCG therapy stimulates testosterone production and virilization.