Hinney B, Henze C, Wuttke W. Regulation of luteal function by luteinizing hormone and prolactin at different times of the luteal phase. Eur J Endocrinol 1995;133:701–17. ISSN 0804–4643
In 54 healthy women luteal function was assessed by sequential withdrawals of blood samples at 10-min intervals for 8–10 h. Subgroups of the women were studied during the early and late ovulatory period and during the early, mid- and late luteal phase. Bio- and immunoreactive luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin, testosterone, estradiol and progesterone levels were determined in each sample. While the bio- and immunoreactivity of LH pulses correlated fairly well, a number of bio- or immunoreactive LH pulses were observed that were not detected by the respective other method. Responsivity of the corpus luteum to LH episodes developed during the second half of the luteal phase and was most marked in cases where LH episodes were accompanied by prolactin episodes. In the absence of prolactin episodes, LH episodes did not stimulate progesterone or estradiol secretion. The highest incidence of coincident LH and prolactin pulses was observed during the mid- and late luteal phase. Serum testosterone levels showed also some fluctuations but these were independent of immuno- or bioactive LH episodes and therefore most likely not of luteal origin. Prior to menstruation LH episodes were not any more stimulatory to progesterone secretion, indicating that it is not the withdrawal of LH but, rather, another possibly intraovarian mechanism that results in luteolysis. In a number of women, increased estradiol and progesterone secretion was strictly related to the prior occurrence of LH and prolactin pulses. In other subjects, both gonadal steroids fluctuated largely with no discernible correlation to LH fluctuations. This may indicate that in these subjects the corpora lutea have some degree of autonomous regulation.
W Wuttke, Abteilung für Klinische und Experimentelle Endokrinologie, Universitäts-Frauenklinik, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, D-37075 Gottingen, Germany