Since administration of the antiprogesterone RU486 to cyclic rats results in a dissociation of basal LH and FSH secretion we studied its effects on peripheral levels of inhibin, oestradiol and testosterone throughout the oestrous cycle. Cyclic rats were given RU486 (2 mg) twice daily (09.00 and 17.00 h) on metoestrus, dioestrus and pro-oestrus. Oil-treated rats were used as controls.
Serum concentrations of immunoreactive inhibin in oil-treated rats increased from metoestrus to prooestrus and decreased at oestrus. RU486-treated rats had serum inhibin concentrations significantly increased over oil-treated rats at dioestrus and prooestrus, but not at oestrus. At both pro-oestrus and oestrus serum concentrations of LH, testosterone and oestradiol were significantly raised in RU486-treated rats compared with oil-treated controls. In contrast, serum FSH concentrations in RU486-treated rats were decreased on both days. Ovaries from RU486-treated rats showed an increased testosterone content at pro-oestrus, mainly in the interstitial tissue.
The results of thepresent study demonstrate that RU486 has a stimulatory effect on inhibin secretion, and offer an explanation for the decrease in basal serum FSH levels. The low FSH secretion on the morning of oestrus in spite of the low levels of inhibin suggests that progesterone is involved in FSH secretion at this time.