Background: Proper functioning of the male reproductive axis depends on complex feedback systems between several hormones. In this study, the genetic contribution of various endocrine components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis is evaluated and previously observed differences in FSH and inhibin B levels between mono- (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins are re-investigated. Methods: Inhibin B, FSH, LH, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and testosterone levels were assayed in 128 adult males (20 MZ twin pairs, 7 single MZ twins, 10 DZ twin pairs, 27 single DZ twins and 34 siblings of twins, constituting 10 sibling pairs), aged 15.6-68.7 years. Hormone levels were compared across zygosity groups and heritability estimates were obtained using maximum likelihood variance component analysis. Results: Heritability estimates ranged from 56% (testosterone) to 81% (inhibin B and SHBG). For LH and FSH, the heritability was estimated at 68% and 80% respectively. No mean differences in hormone levels were observed across groups. Conclusions: All measured hormones are highly heritable. A difference in the FSH-inhibin B feedback system between DZ twin males and MZ twin males could not be confirmed.
- Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)