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

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Abstract

Purpose:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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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