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A. A. J. Jenner, J. de Koning and G. P. van Rees


Anterior hemi-pituitary glands from intact female and ovariectomized (OVX) rats were incubated with or without a maximally effective dose of LRH. During an 8 h incubation, LRH-stimulated release of FSH by pituitary glands from intact rats was biphasic: an initial slow rate of release and, from 2 to 8 h, an enhanced rate of release. Basal release was low up to 4 h, after which a marked increase of the rate of release was measured: from 6 to 8 h there was no difference between the rates of basal and LRH-stimulated release. Basal and LRH-stimulated release of FSH by pituitary glands from OVX rats were high and approximately constant during an 8 h incubation.

Both basal and LRH-stimulated release by glands from intact as well as OVX rats were protein synthesis dependent. During the incubations an LRH-independent synthesis of FSH was measured. The results suggest that this synthesis is involved, either directly or indirectly, in increasing the rate of basal release of FSH after 4 h.

A comparison of release and synthesis of FSH with those of LH reveals characteristic differences.

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A. A. J. Jenner, J. de Koning and G. P. van Rees


Inhibin-like activity in steroid-free bovine follicular fluid (bFF) is demonstrated using an in vitro technique with hemi-pituitary glands from intact female (second day of dioestrus) and ovariectomized rats: synthesis as well as basal release of FSH, but not of LH, are inhibited profoundly. The results confirm and extend data from other investigators on the action of inhibin-like material. The effect of the inhibin-like activity is shown to be reversible, as synthesis and the rise of basal release are restored when bFF is withdrawn from the incubation medium. Synthesis of FSH seems to be inhibited earlier than basal release, and it is suggested that the inhibin-like material acts only directly on FSH synthesis. Some possibilities of the mechanisms of action of inhibin-like activity are discussed.

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A. A.J. Jenner, J. de Koning, A. M. I. Tijssen and G. P. van Rees

Abstract. FSH release from the female rat pituitary gland consists of an LH-like, LRH-dependent component and an autonomous, inhibin-sensitive component. It was investigated whether cyclic AMP mediated FSH release. BrcAMP, theophylline, MIX or NaF stimulated LH release but inhibited FSH release and synthesis. Although dbcAMP had no inhibitory effect on FSH release, it partly reversed the inhibitory action of theophylline. In view of previous and the present results it is concluded that cyclic AMP may mediate the LRHdependent LH and FSH release and, through a separate pathway, may mediate the inhibition of autonomous FSH release by the ovarian protein inhibin.

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G. P. van Rees, J. A. M. J. van Dieten, J. de Koning and A. F. P. M. de Goey

Abstract. Ovariectomized rats were injected iv with an antiserum against LRH or normal rabbit serum. AntiLRH caused a decrease of plasma LH and FSH. After 24 or 48 h, the rats were decapitated and the pituitary glands incubated in the presence of an analogue of LRH which reacts minimally with anti-LRH (Buserelin). Pretreatment with anti-LRH caused an increased response of pituitary LH release to Buserelin. Similar results were obtained with regard to FSH. In this case, however, basal release of FSH was lowered by pre-treatment with antiLRH. Pituitary LH and FSH contents were not affected by anti-LRH, but synthesis of LH and FSH in vitro was smaller than in control glands obtained from rats pretreated with normal rabbit serum.

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G. A. Schuiling, H. Moes, J. de Koning and T. R. Koiter

Abstract. Ovariectomized rats were infused with varying doses of luteinizing hormone-releasing-hormone (LRH). Some of the rats were also treated with oestradiol benzoate (EB). The effects of these pre-treatments on the in vitro release of luteinizing hormone (LH) were studied. The following parameters of in vitro LH release were measured: a) the autonomous secretion rate; b) the secretion rate following maximum stimulation with LRH, and c) the total quantity of LH released during the 6-hour experiment.

The in vivo pre-treatments with LRH and EB dose-dependently decreased the pituitary LH content as well as all three of the above parameters of in vitro LH secretion. There was a linear relationship between the pituitary LH content and the three parameters of in vitro LH release. These parameters were therefore expressed as percentage of the pituitary LH content to give the relative LH secretion rates. The three parameters were thereby corrected for LRH/EB-induced changes in the pituitary LH content. In this way we obtained information on the effects of LRH and EB on the state of the LH release mechanisms of the gonadotropes.

EB potentiated the LRH-induced depletion of the pituitary LH stores at all in vivo LRH infusion rates. The effect of EB on the quantity of LH released during perifusion in vitro, however, varied with the previous LRH infusion rates. After LRH infusion rates lower than about 120 ng/h (which establishes plasma concentrations of about 70 ng/l) EB enhanced the stimulated quantity of LH released. After higher rates of LRH infusion, EB lowered the amount of LH released. The effect of EB on the relative secretion of LH in vitro, i.e. on the LH release mechanisms, however, was positive irrespective of the prior in vivo LRH infusion rates, although the effect of EB was greater at the lower rates of LRH infusion.

The effect of EB on the autonomous, in vitro, LH secretion rate was positive irrespective of the prior in vivo LRH infusion rates. The positive effect of EB on the mechanism underlying this component of LH secretion was LRH-independent.

The effect of EB on the mechanism underlying the LRH-stimulated component of LH release appeared to be strongly LRH-dependent. The effect of EB was maximal if the LRH infusion rate had been lower than about 50 ng/h. With higher infusion rates it became increasingly smaller and was zero at the rate of about 180 ng/h or more. The LRH infusion rates of 50 and 180 ng/h establish plasma LRH concentrations of about 30 and 90 ng/l. Thus, the positive effect of EB on the LRH-stimulated component of LH secretion can be regulated by LRH at the plasma concentration interval of 30–90 ng/l.

This study demonstrates that the 'overall' effect of EB on the LH secretion rate is determined by the 'balance' between the effect of EB on the pituitary LH content (the potentiation of the LRH-induced depletion of the LH stores) and the effect of EB on the LH release mechanisms (which effect, in the case of the LRH-stimulated component of LH secretion, can be suppressed by LRH). If the former effect dominates, the effect of EB on the secretion of LH is negative, if the latter dominates, the effect of EB is positive. The LRH concentration at which the positive effect turns into the negative effect is about 70 ng/l.

We suggest that the ability of LRH and EB to influence each others' effect on the pituitary gland at physiological concentrations of the two hormones, plays a role in the regulation of the secretion of LH.

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A. M. I. Tijssen, J. de Koning and G. P. van Rees


Pituitary glands from ovariectomized rats which had been pre-treated with oestradiol benzoate (OeB) or solvent oil were incubated in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer with glucose containing either LRH (1000 ng/ml) or a high K+ concentration (50 mM). OeB (7 μg sc) or oil was injected at 2.5 or 6.5 h before the beginning of the incubation experiment or during the three preceding days (three daily injections). Depending upon the period during which the pituitary glands had been exposed to OeB LH release induced by LRH was inhibited (negative effect of OeB) or augmented (positive effect). When the glands were incubated in medium containing high K+, only the negative effect of OeB pre-treatment was seen. It is concluded that that part of LRH-induced LH release which is mimicked by high K+ is involved in the negative effect of OeB, but not in its positive effect.

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C. B. Lambalk, J. A. M. J. van Dieten, J. de Koning, J. Schoemaker and G. P. van Rees

Abstract. In the ovariectomized (OVX) rat, the plasma LH response was measured to a pulse of LRH (1.25 or 5 ng/100 g body weight, ia) given before and 1 h after ip administration of phenobarbital (80 mg/kg body weight). The LH response to the LRH pulses was increased 1 h after phenobarbital.

In a second experiment, the pituitary LH content of OVX rats was measured 1 h after administration of phenobarbital or saline. No difference in pituitary LH content was found.

It is concluded that in the OVX rat, phenobarbital increases the response to a pulse of LRH, presumably by suppressing endogenous pulsatile LRH. This, together with results of earlier experiments, further supports the hypothesis that under conditions where endogenous pulsatile LRH is present, there is always a certain degree of pituitary desensitization or refractoriness and that the removal of this endogenous LRH leads to recovery of pituitary sensitivity to LRH.

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C. B. Lambalk, G. P. van Rees, J. Schoemaker, J. de Koning and J. A. M. J. van Dieten

Abstract. Otherwise untreated adult ovariectomized rats were given pulses of GnRH (5 ng/100 g body weight iv) once every 60 or 120 min for 24 or 96 h. On the first and last day of the experiment plasma LH was estimated during the administration of GnRH pulses. Endogenous LH pulses between exogenously generated LH pulses were observed in nearly all animals on both the first and the last day, without any change in nadir and amplitude values. Shortly after an injection of GnRH, the spontaneous LH pulses were fewer than expected. The number of these pulses, however, increased again with time after the injections. The response to exogenous GnRH was reduced on the last day of the experiment. However, not all GnRH injections led to LH pulses. Most injections which did not result in an LH pulse appeared to be given within 15 min after a preceding endogenous LH pulse. The results obtained are in agreement with the hypothesis of an acute short-lasting desensitization of the pituitary gland caused by exogenous as well as endogenous pulses of GnRH.

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C. B. Lambalk, G. P. van Rees, J. Schomaker, J. de Koning and J. A. M. J. van Dieten

Abstract. The effect of pulsatile GnRH administration on the levels of LH and FSH was investigated in rats that had been ovariectomized 2 weeks earlier. Also the asynchronous occurrence of endogenous and GnRH-induced LH and FSH pulses was analysed. A small pulse dose of GnRH (1.25 ng/100 g) was given iv at a frequency of once every 60 min or once every 120 min during 24 h. A larger dose of 5 ng/100 g was given once every 60 or 120 min during either 24 h or 96 h. Blood was sampled arterially every 5 min around the two first and last GnRH injections and LH and FSH were measured. Only the treatment with the larger GnRH pulse dose resulted in a change of LH and FSH plasma levels. LH levels declined under all circumstances, whereas FSH was found to be increased temporarily after 24 h of treatment. The pituitary LH response to pulses of GnRH (5 ng/100 g) decreased irrespective of the frequency or duration with which GnRH was administered. There was a marked asynchronicity between LH and FSH pulses and almost every injection of GnRH (5 ng/100 g) resulted in clear LH pulses but not in FSH pulses.

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J. de Koning, J. A. M. J. van Dieten, A. M. I. Tijssen and G. P. van Rees


The hypothesis that LH-RH induces LH release partly through a protein synthesis dependent step (protein factor) was further investigated using two different experimental designs.

First, during incubation of pituitary glands of intact dioestrous female rats with a maximally active concentration of LH-RH, the inhibitor of protein synthesis cycloheximide was added at various times after the beginning of the incubation. The results show that it takes a relatively long time, i.e. more than 1 h of exposure to LH-RH before the amount of the protein factor has increased sufficiently to allow a maximal LH secretion.

Secondly, LH-RH was injected iv after which the protein factor was assayed by incubating the pituitary glands with a maximally active concentration of LH-RH in the presence of cycloheximide and measuring LH release in vitro. It was found that 1 h after the injection sufficient protein factor was present to permit an elevated response to LH-RH. This response could be suppressed by injecting cycloheximide prior to LH-RH. When the interval between injection of LH-RH and beginning of the incubation was increased to 2 h, LH release in vitro decreased again. However, ovariectomy immediately before LH-RH injection resulted in maintenance of the elevated response to LH-RH in vitro, indicating a role of the ovaries in this phenomenon.