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Endocrinology. 1990 Jan;126(1):159-66.

Corticosteroid regulation of gonadotropin and prolactin secretion in the rat.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Endocrinology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-3000.


The purpose of this study was to determine if glucocorticoids had any direct effects on the release of gonadotropin. In estrogen-primed ovariectomized immature rats, triamcinolone acetonide and deoxycorticosterone (1 mg/kg BW) caused a surge in both serum LH and FSH levels. Dexamethasone treatment (0.05 mg/kg BW) resulted in a highly significant selective release of FSH. Cortisol (1 mg/kg BW) suppressed serum FSH levels. A systematic dose-response study showed that triamcinolone acetonide significantly released LH and FSH and suppressed PRL at all doses tested (range, 0.25-4 mg/kg BW). Deoxycorticosterone was not as potent as triamcinolone acetonide and only doses greater than 0.8-1 mg/kg BW significantly released LH and FSH. Dexamethasone selectively released FSH at low doses (0.01, 0.02, 0.05, and 0.1 mg/kg BW) and inhibited LH at higher doses (0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg BW). A single low dose of dexamethasone (0.02 mg/kg BW) was found to significantly release LH. With respect to PRL secretion, a biphasic effect of dexamethasone was observed in that the lowest dose (0.01 mg/kg BW) stimulated PRL release while the highest dose (1.0 mg/kg BW) significantly inhibited PRL release. Triamicolone acetonide and deoxycorticosterone were found to require estrogen priming for their effects on gonadotropin secretion. The findings in this study raise the possibility that the beneficial effects seen with corticosteroids in inducing ovulation in polycystic ovarian syndrome may be due, in part, to their direct effects upon the release of gonadotropins.

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