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Theriogenology. 2007 Apr 1;67(6):1134-42. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Comparative quantitative assessment of GnRH- and LH-receptor mRNA expression in the urinary tract of sexually intact and spayed female dogs.

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Section of Small Animal Reproduction, Clinic of Reproductive Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty University Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Ovariectomy interrupts the regulatory loop in the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis, leading to a several-fold increase in gonadotropin levels. This rise in hormonal secretion may play a causal role in ovariectomy-related urinary incontinence. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of ovariectomy in bitches on the expression of GnRH- and LH-receptors in the lower urinary tract, and assess the relationship between receptor expression and plasma gonadotropin concentrations. Plasma gonadotropins were measured in 37 client-owned bitches. Biopsies were harvested from the mid-ventral bladder wall in all dogs, and from nine further locations within the lower urinary tract in 17 of the 37 animals. Messenger RNA of the LH and GnRH receptors was quantified using RT-PCR with the TaqMan Universal PCR Master Mix. Gonadotropins were measured with a canine-specific FSH-immunoradiometric assay and LH-radioimmunoassay. The hierarchical mixed ANOVA model using MINITAB, Mann-Whitney U-test, unpaired means comparison and linear regressions using StatView were applied for statistical analyses. Messenger RNA for both receptors was detected in all biopsy samples. Age was negatively correlated to mRNA expression of the LH and the GnRH receptors. A relationship between the mRNA values and the plasma gonadotropin concentrations was not established. Evaluation of results within each of the biopsy locations revealed greater LH-receptor expression in the proximal second quarter of the urethra in spayed bitches than in intact bitches (P=0.0481). Increased mRNA expression of LH receptors in this location could possibly play a role in the decrease in closing pressure of the urethra following ovariectomy.

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