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Developmental neurobiology

Adolescent TBI-induced hypopituitarism causes sexual dysfunction in adult male rats.


PMID 25066665

Abstract

Adolescents are at greatest risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and repeat TBI (RTBI). TBI-induced hypopituitarism has been documented in both adults and juveniles and despite the necessity of pituitary function for normal physical and brain development, it is still unrecognized and untreated in adolescents following TBI. TBI induced hormonal dysfunction during a critical developmental window has the potential to cause long-term cognitive and behavioral deficits and the topic currently remains unaddressed. The purpose of this study was to determine if four mild TBIs delivered to adolescent male rats disrupts testosterone production and adult behavioral outcomes. Plasma testosterone was quantified from 72 hrs preinjury to 3 months postinjury and pubertal onset, reproductive organ growth, erectile function and reproductive behaviors were assessed at 1 and 2 months postinjury. RTBI resulted in both acute and chronic decreases in testosterone production and delayed onset of puberty. Significant deficits were observed in reproductive organ growth, erectile function and reproductive behaviors in adult rats at both 1 and 2 months postinjury. These data suggest adolescent RTBI-induced hypopituitarism underlies abnormal behavioral changes observed during adulthood. The impact of undiagnosed hypopituitarism following RTBI in adolescence has significance not only for growth and puberty, but also for brain development and neurobehavioral function as adults.