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Endocrinology. 1993 Aug;133(2):931-4.

Regulation of rat pituitary gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor mRNA levels in vivo and in vitro.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.


The recent isolation of cDNAs encoding the rat pituitary gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR) allows studies of the regulation of the synthesis of the GnRHR and its relationship to reproductive function. Analyses of the regulation of GnRHR mRNA levels in the rat pituitary in vivo revealed a progressive increase in levels to 2.0 +/- 0.2-fold after ovariectomy (OVX) and 5.2 +/- 1.3-fold after castration (CAST) (21 days post-operative), compared to intact adult female and male controls, respectively. Replacement therapy with 17 beta-estradiol benzoate in 21-day post-OVX female rats resulted in a marked decrease in GnRHR mRNA levels by 7 days, compared to controls. In contrast, therapy with testosterone propionate in 21-day post-CAST male rats resulted in only a modest decrease in GnRHR mRNA levels. Thus, manipulation of the reproductive endocrine system in vivo results in alterations in GnRHR synthesis at the pretranslational level, which parallel known changes in cell surface gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) binding activities. The treatment of superfused primary monolayer cultures of rat pituitary cells with hourly pulses of GnRH (10 nM, 6 min/h) resulted in a marked increase in GnRHR mRNA levels (12.8 +/- 4.3-fold compared to untreated cells). In contrast, treatment of cultured cells with continuous GnRH caused no change in GnRHR mRNA levels. These in vitro data show homologous regulation of GnRHR gene expression by GnRH, and suggest that the changes in GnRHR gene expression observed in vivo may be attributable at least in part to changes in the pattern of hypothalamic GnRH secretion.

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