A Surprising Case of Shrinkage
SUNY College at Oneonta
This case is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of negative feedback regulation. Basic principles of negative feedback systems are illustrated by focusing on the effects of anabolic steroids on the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular system. The use of these drugs in sports provides the context for the case. Specifically, the case provides basic information about the regulation of testicular function and then focuses on a side effect of anabolic steroid use; i.e., testicular atrophy. Students are required to develop hypotheses to explain this side effect and devise ways to test their hypotheses. They are also asked to think beyond the scope of the case and apply basic principles to explain other conditions affecting testicular function. The case is suitable for use in any physiology course and might also be useful for a core course in general biology.
- Recognize a negative feedback system.
- Identify major components of a negative feedback system.
- Explain the negative feedback regulation of LH and FSH release.
- Apply the concept of negative feedback to analyze and explain a major side effect of anabolic steroid use.
KeywordsAnabolic steroids; endocrinology; homeostasis; negative feedback; testicular function
Topical AreasEthics, Scientific method, Social issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Clinical education
Type / MethodsAnalysis (Issues), Directed, Discussion
Subject HeadingsPhysiology | Biology (General) | Nutrition | Sports Science | Pharmacy / Pharmacology |