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Iiris Salonen and Ilpo Huhtaniemi

Abstract. We studied the effects of one-week ethanol exposure (2.2 g/kg twice daily) on pituitary-gonadal functions of male rats. Because ethanol decreases the food-intake of the animals, diet-restricted rats were used as controls. Testicular LH and PRL receptors of ethanol-treated rats were significantly (P <0.05–0.01) reduced in comparison with weight-matched controls. In contrast, testicular GnRH receptors of the ethanol group were increased (P <0.05). Testicular FSH binding, pituitary GnRH-receptors, and serum gonadotropins and testosterone were not affected by ethanol. The present results demonstrate a specific effect of ethanol on testicular LH and PRL receptors which, unlike some other endocrine changes during ethanol expoure, is not due to a concomitant weight loss. In addition, the results suggest a concurrent change in the putative testicular GnRH receptor associated paracrine regulation, as implied by increased testicular GnRH binding upon ethanol exposure.