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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2002 Nov 29;197(1-2):117-25.

The role of luteinizing hormone in the pathogenesis of hyperadrenocorticism in neutered ferrets.

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Division of Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Four studies were performed to test the hypothesis that gonadotrophic hormones, and particularly luteinizing hormone (LH) play a role in the pathogenesis of ferrets: (I) adrenal glands of ferrets with hyperadrenocorticism were studied immunohistochemically to detect LH-receptors (LH-R); (II) gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) stimulation tests were performed in 10 neutered ferrets, with measurement of androstenedione, 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone and cortisol as endpoints; (III) GnRH stimulation tests were performed in 15 ferrets of which 8 had hyperadrenocorticism, via puncture of the vena cava under anesthesia; and (IV) urinary corticoid/creatinine (C/C) ratios were measured at 2-week intervals for 1 year in the same ferrets as used in study II. Clear cells in hyperplastic or neoplastic adrenal glands of hyperadrenocorticoid ferrets stained positive with the LH-R antibody. Plasma androstenedione and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone concentrations increased after stimulation with GnRH in 7 out of 8 hyperadrenocorticoid ferrets but in only 1 out of 7 healthy ferrets. Hyperadrenocorticoid ferrets had elevated urinary C/C ratios during the breeding season. The observations support the hypothesis that gonadotrophic hormones play a role in the pathogenesis of hyperadrenocorticism in ferrets. This condition may be defined as a disease resulting from the expression of LH-R on sex steroid-producing adrenocortical cells.

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