A comprehensive study has been made of the hemicastrated rat from 2 to 12 months of age in order to define what might represent an ideal model in which to study testicular regulation. Although there was no compensatory hypertrophy in the remaining testis of the mature hemicastrated rat, levels of plasma testosterone fell significantly within 4 h after surgery in all age groups older than 3 months, and were restored to normal levels almost immediately, usually within 8 h. There were no significant changes in LH and prolactin, and the significant rise in FSH was sufficiently delayed (2 days or more) to suggest that none of these three hormones was implicated in any obvious way in the compensatory restoration of plasma testosterone levels. Although a single testis was capable of maintaining normal plasma testosterone concentrations, its response to human chorionic gonadotrophin at 24 h after hemicastration was significantly less than that of intact animals, suggesting that the single testis was functioning at near-maximal capacity. The hormonal responses to repetitive blood sampling and to sham-surgery simulated the response to hemicastration remarkably. However, these responses were never statistically significant in within-group analysis, and therefore did not obscure the significant fall of plasma testosterone levels in response to hemicastration. The basic mechanism by which plasma testosterone is restored in the hemicastrated rat is still unknown, but the options have been narrowed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism