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Congenital estrogen deficiency: in search of the estrogen role in human male reproduction.

[aromatase deficiency]

Recently, a remarkable progress has been made in our understanding about the role of sex steroids in male physiology. In this paper, we consider the clinical aspects of congenital estrogen deficiency - notably, estrogen resistance and aromatase deficiency - in men and we discuss both well-established and supposed estrogen roles in the human male reproductive function. These topics include the role of estrogens in the control of gonadotropin secretion, in male fertility determination and psychosexual behavior. Briefly, estrogens play a pivotal role in the control of serum gonadotropin concentrations in the human male. Furthermore, a possible role of estrogens on both human male fertility and sexuality has also been suggested by recent studies, even though the available data are far from being conclusive. Conversely, for what concern fertility and sexual behavior, a well-established effect of estrogens has been provided by recent studies on male rodents, which show impaired sexual behavior and fertility as a consequence of estrogen defect.