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Endocrinology. 1984 Apr;114(4):1287-94.

Influence of gonadal steroids on age- and sex-related secretory patterns of growth hormone in the rat.


The influence of sex steroids on the pulsatile GH-secretory pattern was investigated in male and female rats of different ages. Neonatal and prepubertal gonadectomy was performed when the rats were 0-1 and 25 days old, respectively. Determinations of plasma GH levels were made in blood samples obtained from the tip of the tail or from a chronic intracardiac venous cannula. After blood sampling from the tip of the tail, maximum and minimum plasma GH levels were determined in individual rats in order to evaluate pulse height and baseline plasma GH levels. In the chronically cannulated rats the GH pulse height and plasma GH baseline levels in individual rats were determined by means of a pulse analysis computer program. Neonatal gonadectomy of male and female rats did not affect the increase in plasma GH that is observed during late prepubertal life in both sexes. However, the pulsatile, sexually differentiated, secretory pattern of GH seen in sexually mature male and female rats was modulated by gonadectomy. In adult male rats, GH was secreted in regular episodes at 3- to 4-h intervals, baseline levels being low or undetectable. After neonatal or prepubertal gonadectomy, GH baseline levels increased in comparison to the sham-operated controls. Replacement therapy with testosterone completely reversed this effect, indicating that a continuous presence of testosterone is necessary for maintaining the low baseline GH levels in adult male rats. Neonatal, but not prepubertal, gonadectomy decreased GH pulse height in male rats during adult life, suggesting that neonatal androgen secretion is a determinant for the pulse height in adult male rats. In female rats, GH pulse height was lower and baseline levels were higher than in male rats. Neonatal gonadectomy resulted in higher plasma GH pulses during puberty and decreased GH baseline levels postpubertally. There were no apparent differences in the GH-secretory patterns between male and female rats after neonatal gonadectomy. Neonatal gonadectomy of male rats decreased body weight gain as well as longitudinal bone growth, as measured in the proximal tibia by the tetracycline method. In contrast, neonatal gonadectomy of female rats resulted in a stimulation of body weight gain and longitudinal bone growth. The present results demonstrate that gonadal steroids influence GH secretion in the rat. We suggest that the sexual differentiation of the GH secretory pattern may be important for the difference in body growth between male and female rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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