The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of subchronic hypercortisolemia on progesterone (P) metabolism and production and on peripheral LH levels in a nonhuman primate using a repeated measures experimental design. Osmotic pumps that released hydrocortisone phosphate (HP) at a dose of 15 mg/day were implanted sc in seven cynomolgus monkeys for two menstrual cycles. The pumps were filled with saline for the two control cycles, which either preceded (three animals) or followed (four animals) HP infusion. P metabolism, P production, and episodic secretion of LH were determined 8 ± 1 days after the serum estradiol peak in the second control cycle and in the second cycle of HP infusion in each monkey, after iv bolus administration of 50 microCi [3H]P, followed by a 6-h blood sampling period. HP infusion elevated serum cortisol levels 1.6-fold. Serum P levels were decreased throughout the luteal phase by 58% (P < 0.01). The MCR of P and the volume of distribution at steady state of P were increased by 200% during HP infusion (both P < 0.005). The production rate of P was increased by HP treatment in five of seven monkeys. HP infusion increased the ratio of 20 α-[3H]dihydroprogesterone to [3H]P in serum from 0.5 to 1.0 (P < 0.05) while decreasing the fraction of [3H]P and its metabolites excreted in urine from 20% to 11% (P < 0.05). Serum LH levels, determined over a 5.25-h period in the luteal phase, were elevated by 200% during HP treatment (P < 0.05). Episodic secretion of LH during treatment was characterized by a 660% increase in the pulse amplitude (P < 0.05) and an apparent decrease in the pulse frequency. The results of this study provide evidence that moderate elevation of serum cortisol levels for two menstrual cycles in primates 1) increases the MCR of P, which may be the cause of the observed decrease in serum P levels; and 2) elevates serum LH levels by amplifying its pulse amplitude, which may result in a compensatory rise in the production rate of P.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical