An inhibitory effect of stress on reproductive function is well established. This inhibition involves activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which leads to a suppression of LH secretion. It has been proposed that this suppression is mediated by a direct effect of CRF that is independent of glucocorticoid actions. We tested this proposition by examining plasma LH levels in adult rats that were both ovariectomized (OVX) and adrenalectomized (ADX). Each animal was surgically implanted with an indwelling atrial cannula and exposed to intermittent foot shock for 100 min. Blood samples were drawn just prior to putting the animals into the test cage and then at 20-min intervals. Results revealed normal castrate levels of plasma LH in both ADX and ADX/OVX animals prior to shock. A significant shock-induced suppression of LH was observed in OVX animals within 20 min after the onset of shock and remained throughout the duration of the session. In contrast, no evidence was obtained for a suppression of LH in OVX/ADX animals at any time point. Additional studies demonstrated a marked suppression of LH in experimentally naive OVX/ADX females implanted with corticosterone capsules for 2 weeks prior to blood sampling. Overall, these results support a primary role for glucocorticoid actions in the stress-induced inhibition of reproductive function.
- Luteinizing hormone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience