Spironolactone (Aldactone®) acts as an antiandrogen by blocking testosterone synthesis and competing with testosterone for the androgen receptor. These properties of the mineralocorticoid antagonist were used in an attempt to interrupt the gonadal-pituitary-hypothalamic negative feedback axis and thereby stimulate LH and FSH in 7 boys with delayed puberty. Following administration of aldactone (5 mg/kg) daily for one week, there was a significant (P < .01) mean increase in serum LH of 60%. In all 7 boys an absolute rise in LH was observed, but these changes were statistically significant in only 5 individuals. While mean FSH levels increased by 60% in this group of boys, the individual responses were variable. No rise in gonadotropin levels occurred in 2 patients with Kallmann's syndrome, who also received 5 mg/kg of spironolactone daily for 1 week. Large doses of the drug appeared necessary to stimulate gonadotropin secretion since a dose of 3 mg/kg per day did not cause LH or FSH increments in 2 additional patients with delayed puberty. Progesterone and 17a-hydroxyprogesterone levels increased to a greater extent than LH and FSH in response to spironolactone, reflecting either adrenal or testicular enzyme inhibition. Spironolactone is the first drug shown to be capable of stimulating gonadotropin secretion by interrupting negative feedback inhibition in boys with delayed puberty.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical