The hypothesis that steroid sex hormones influence pituitary F. S. H. by independent actions on its production and capacity of the gland to release it has been investigated by means of incubation experiments. During incubation, rat pituitary glands released considerable amounts of F. S. H. into the medium. Inactivation of F. S. H. during incubation could not be demonstrated; once (in females) some production of F. S. H. was even observed. The amount of F. S. H. which is released into the medium is influenced by the quantity of F. S. H. stored in the hypophyses.
Hypophyses from male rats pretreated with oestradiol released relatively more F. S. H. into the medium than hypophyses from control animals. On the other hand, pretreatment with testosterone caused the pituitary glands to release less F. S. H. into the medium. In agreement with these results, hypophyses from intact male rats released relatively less F. S. H. than hypophyses from intact female rats.
These facts support the hypothesis that androgens depress pituitary F. S. H.-secretion by inhibiting the capacity to release it, while oestrogens, which can even promote this property of the pituitary gland, also act by directly inhibiting its production.