Five highly purified human pituitary LH preparations (candidate preparations for a new International Reference Preparation (IRP) and coded A to E) and three highly purified commercial preparations (referred to as Kabi I, II and III) were fractionated by electrofocusing on a sucrose density gradient with ampholytes in the pH range of 3·5–10·0 The LH activity was monitored in each of the eluted fractions by an in-vitro bioassay and a radioimmunoassay procedure and the profiles of biological activity and immunoreactivity were compared with those of the first IRP of Human Pituitary Luteinizing Hormone for Immunoassay (code no. 68/40).
The overall recovery of the biological activity after electrofocusing of the nine preparations ranged between 75 and 92% (mean 86%) and was higher (P < 0·05) than that of the immunological reactivity which varied between 71 and 94% (mean 79%).
The profiles of the biological activity and immunological reactivity were in close agreement with each other in all preparations. Significant differences were, however, observed in the distribution of various molecular species between the currently used standard and the eight other highly purified preparations.
The ratios of biological activity (B) to immunoreactivity (I) of preparation B and of the three Kabi preparations were significantly higher than those of the other five preparations, both before and after electrofocusing. After electrofocusing, a slight but significant (P < 0·05) rise in the B/I ratios was observed, suggesting that some biologically inactive immunoreactive material was removed during fractionation. All purified preparations lacked the characteristic 'acidic' human LH species which accompanies FSH and which is abundant in the IRP (69/104) and is also present in aqueous extracts of postmenopausal pituitary glands.
A comparison of the electrofocusing profiles of the nine highly purified preparations with those of human LH from plasma and individual pituitary glands revealed marked differences, suggesting that the methods used for the purification of the hormone significantly altered its molecular composition.
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