The ability of oestradiol-17β (OE2) and 2-hydroxyoestradiol (2OH-OE2) to translocate pituitary oestrogen receptors to the nuclear compartment and to affect plasma concentrations of LH, FSH and prolactin was studied in ovariectomized ewes. Mean (± s.e.m.) nuclear oestrogen receptor levels (% of total pituitary oestrogen receptors) after intracarotid injections of 1·25 μg OE2, 400 μg 2OH-OE2 or vehicle were 8·7±2·3, 16·9 ± 3·2 and 0·8±0·1% respectively. Whereas 1·25 or 12·5 μg OE2 significantly lowered plasma LH and FSH, 400 μg 2OH-OE2 did not affect plasma LH or FSH levels. Injection of 4000 μg 2OH-OE2, however, significantly affected plasma LH and FSH. Plasma prolactin levels were not significantly affected by the treatments. These data indicate a discrepancy between oestrogen receptor occupancy and effects on gonadotrophin and prolactin secretion after injection of catechol oestrogen.
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