Serum Sex Hormones Are Altered in Patients with Chronic Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Receiving Anticonvulsant Medication

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To evaluate the changes in serum sex hormones of gonadal or adrenal origin, the gonadotropic hormones, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in men and women with chronic temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), who are undergoing monotherapy with carbamazepine or receiving carbamazepine in combination with other anticonvulsant drugs.


Gonadal hormones (estradiol, testosterone, free testosterone, and inhibin B), adrenal hormones [cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), androstenedione, and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone], and gonadotropic hormones (luteinizing hormone [LH] and follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH]) were measured in 22 women and 26 men with TLE. The study also measured prolactin; human growth hormone and its major mediator, insulin-like growth factor-I; thyroid hormones (free thyroxine and free triiodothyronine); thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH); and SHBG. The results were compared with those obtained from 60 healthy women and 106 healthy men.


In the female patients, TSH, DHEAS, follicularphase LH, and luteal-phase estradiol were significantly lower than in the control groups, with prolactin and SHBG significantly higher. In the male patients, DHEAS, 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, free testosterone, inhibin B, and the testosterone/LH ratio were significantly lower than in the control group, with LH, FSH, and SHBG significantly higher. Increased FSH in 31% of the men indicates an impairment of spermatogenesis; lowered inhibin B in 12% indicates an impaired Sertoli's cell function; and the decreased testosterone/LH ratio in 50% indicates an impaired Leydig's cell function.


The case patients had endocrine disorders, mainly concerning the gonadotropic and gonadal functions in both sexes; the adrenal function, with lowered DHEAS levels in both sexes; and lowered 17α-hydroxyprogesterone levels in the men. SHBG levels were increased in patients taking anticonvulsant medications.

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