Sirolimus Impairs Gonadal Function in Heart Transplant Recipients
Abstract:The impact of sirolimus on hormone levels involved in the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis in male heart transplant recipients was investigated.
A pair-matched analysis with 132 male heart transplant recipients on either sirolimus based- or calcineurin inhibitor-based immunosuppression was performed. Matching criteria were age, years after transplantation and creatinine levels. Measured parameters were testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), sexual hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and free androgen index (FAI).
Mean testosterone was 3.86 ± 1.41 ng/mL in the sirolimus group and 4.55 ± 1.94 ng/mL in the controls (p = 0.025). Serum LH was 12.82 ± 11.19 mlU/mL in the sirolimus patients and 6.2 ± 5.25 mlU/mL in the controls (p = 0.015). Follicle stimulating hormone levels were 13.31 ± 18.4 mlU/mL vs. 7.32 ± 5.53 mlU/mL, respectively (p = 0.015). The analysis revealed a significant decrease in testosterone and a significant increase in FSH and LH in the sirolimus group. The duration of sirolimus treatment correlated positively with SHBG (p < 0.01), LH (p < 0.05) and FSH (p < 0.05) and negative with the FAI (p < 0.05). Sirolimus trough levels correlated with LH and FSH levels (p < 0.01).
Heart transplant recipients treated with sirolimus revealed significantly lower testosterone levels and a significant increase in gonadotropic hormones. These effects were trough-level dependent. All candidates awaiting organ transplantation should be informed about these adverse effects.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2004