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Pituitary-testicular interrelationships in mumps orchitis and other viral infections

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 06 May 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:1177
  1. D A Adamopoulos,
  2. D M Lawrence,
  3. P Vassilopoulos,
  4. P A Contoyiannis,
  5. G I M Swyer


    Leydig-cell function was assessed in 27 men with acute mumps orchitis by measuring plasma testosterone concentrations before and after the administration of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG). The test was also performed on groups of patients with other febrile viral infections and mumps without orchitis and on healthy euspermic men. The concentrations both before and after HCG were significantly lower in patients in the acute phase of mumps—but not in those with other viral infections and mumps without orchitis—than in the healthy men. Basal concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) were significantly increased in patients with acute mumps orchitis, while an exaggerated response to LH-releasing hormone was noted in four patients after the acute phase of the disease. Raised plasma LH concentrations were also found in several patients with viral infections, including mumps without orchitis. There appeared to be no particular merit of any of the treatments used (aspirin, prednisolone, and cold baths). In patients reevaluated three to five and 10 to 12 months after the acute phase of their disease the basal testosterone concentrations were similar to those of the healthy men, but several of the patients showed a severely impaired response to HCG. Mean basal FSH and LH concentrations were significantly increased 10 to 12 months after the acute phase, while the mean LH concentration was also raised at three to five months.

    It is concluded that mumps orchitis impairs Leydigcell function during the acute phase of the disease but may also have a more permanent damaging effect, similar to that found in the germinal epithelium.