In recent years, it became evident that the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis is functioning in boys already between the neonatal period and the onset of puberty. With sensitive techniques, testosterone and gonadotropines have been detected in the plasma and urine of prepubertal boys. It is now believed that, during this period of life, the axis is active, but that either the feedback mechanisms are adjusted to a different level, the hypothalamic centers being more sensitive to androgens and keeping the testicular androgen production low, or that the gonads are more refractory to the effect of gonadotropins.
The androgen levels in biological fluids from normal prepubertal boys are extremely low. It is therefore impossible to distinguish the basal values of children with defective steroid production from those of normal children. Recently, several investigators have, however, shown that stimulation of the testicular interstitial cells is possible, if human chorionic gonadotropin is administered for several