Identical twin brothers presented with oligospermia, small testes, normal male phenotypes, elevated serum luteinizing hormone levels, and normal or elevated serum testosterone levels. Both men had low to low-normal cytosol androgen receptor binding capacity in cultured fibroblasts from pubic skin biopsy specimens. Qualitative abnormalities of cellular androgen receptors were suggested by low-normal or low nuclear androgen uptake in fibroblasts from both brothers as well as abnormal thermolability and subnormal molybdate stabilization of androgen receptors from one brother. In vivo androgen sensitivity was assessed in one twin following administration of testosterone or the non-aromatizable androgen fluoxymesterone. Fluoxymesterone suppressed serum luteinizing hormone and serum testosterone/estradiol-binding globulin, and although testosterone suppressed both serum luteinizing hormone and serum follicle-stimulating hormone, the suppression of serum luteinizing hormone by testosterone was subnormal. Both subjects showed marked exaggeration of the serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone increase after administration of human chorionic gonadotropin, despite normal serum testosterone increases, suggesting a block in testicular 17,20-desmolase, which converts 17-hydroxyprogesterone to testosterone. These studies suggest that oligospermia and block of the enzyme 17,20-desmolase may be the earliest manifestations of androgen resistance, and the finding of the syndrome of oligospermia, normal male phenotype, and androgen receptor abnormalities in identical twins indicates a genetic etiology of this disorder.
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