Bidlingmaier, F.; Dörr, H. G.; Eisenmenger, Wolfgang; Kuhnle, U.; Knorr, D.
Testosterone and androstenedione concentrations in human testis and epididymis during the first two years of life.
In: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol. 57, No. 2: pp. 311-315
Testosterone and androstenedione were measured in testicular and epididymal tissue of 37 previously healthy infants between 1 and 24 months of age who died suddenly. In half of the patients elevated plasma levels of cortisol and androstenedione suggested preterminal stress. Plasma testosterone levels, however, did not differ from those in healthy infants. Testicular testosterone concentrations were maximal in boys from 1-3 months of age (median, 36.6 ng/g; range, 7-380 ng/g) with peak values similar to those found in pubertal or even adult testes. Thereafter testicular testosterone concentrations decreased and after the age of 6 months all values were below 12.5 ng/g, which corresponds to the low normal range of older prepubertal boys. Plasma testosterone and testicular testosterone correlated significantly (P less than 0.001). On average the testicular concentrations were 36.4 times higher than the corresponding plasma concentrations. Testicular androstenedione was low but correlated significantly with testicular testosterone (P less than 0.001). Epididymal testosterone concentrations were surprisingly high (1-3 months: median, 10.3 ng/g; range, 4-42.7 ng/g) and averaged 30% of the testicular testosterone concentration. Thus, epididymal testosterone concentrations were significantly higher than the circulating plasma testosterone levels, indicating the capacity of the infant epididymis to accumulate androgens. These findings suggest that high local testosterone concentrations during early infancy are important not only for the testis itself but particularly for the developing epididymis