Significantly decreased levels of serum testosterone from the pre-anaesthesia level were found during and up to 7 days following major surgery under general anaesthesia (nitrous oxide, oxygen and halothane following induction with thiopental and succinylcholine chloride) in 18 male patients. On the other hand, in the same patients, the serum luteinizing hormone (LH) increased significantly from the pre-anaesthesia level 30 min and 1 h after the beginning of anaesthesia. A slight increase in LH level was also noted on the 7th post-operative day. The determinations of serum testosterone and LH in fiberoptic bronchoscopy under the same general anaesthesia as that used in surgery or local anaesthesia in 26 male patients, revealed that the change in the serum LH during and following surgery seemed to be mainly induced by the general anaesthesia and that the rate of decrease in the serum testosterone may be related to the severity of surgical stress including the anaesthesia.
The rate of increase in serum testosterone following the injection of gonadotrophin in 20 males on the 6th post-operative day was similar to that in 10 pre-operative males. The effects of pulmonary lobectomy on serum testosterone and urinary steroids were also studied in 6 males under adrenal suppression with dexamethasone. On the 6th post-operative day, the urinary aetiocholanolone plus androsterone and serum testosterone were found to be half the level of those on the pre-operative day, while the urinary 5β-pregnane-3α,17α,20α-triol remained unchanged. These observations in human are not inconsistent with the report of Tcholakian & Eik-Nes (1971) in dogs namely that a shift in androgen biosynthetic pathway is present in the testis under surgical stress.