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Review Article Open Access

Interaction of Adrenal and Gonadal Axes during Stress in Males

Abstract

In mammals, chronic exposure to different types of stressors, its strength and duration has long been recognized as a disruptive factor in the reproductive function. In males, stress has a suppressive effect on testosterone secretion, spermatogenesis and sexual behavior. Severe suppression of reproduction appears to be caused by hormones secreted when the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated during stress. Since Hans Selye suggested in 1946 that chronic stress increases activity in the HPA axis and at the same time suppresses activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HGA) axis, there have been several studies demonstrating this antagonistic relationship. The centrally mediated inhibition of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) by the hormones of the HPA, such as corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), β-endorphins, and glucocorticoids, as well as the gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH), the decrease in pituitary responsiveness to GnRH, and the direct effects of stress-hormones on testis leading to the reduction in testosterone secretion are discussed. The aim of this review is focused on the suppression of testicular axis caused by stress, as well as its reproductive consequences in fertility and sexual behavior in males.

Socorro Retana-Márquez, Lizbeth Juárez-Rojas and Fahiel Casillas

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