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.