The participation of the ovarian steroids and opioid peptides in the suppression of pulsatile LH release during acute fasting was examined in rats. Ovariectomized rats bearing silicone elastomer implants of oestradiol and/or progesterone were fasted for 48 h and subsequently blood samples were taken every 6 min for 3 h. Pulsatile LH release was suppressed after 48 h of fasting in the ovariectomized rats implanted with oestradiol but not in the oil-implanted controls. This suppression was enhanced after the administration of progesterone together with oestradiol.
In a second experiment, ovariectomized rats bearing implants of oestradiol or oil were fasted for 48 h and injected s.c. (2·5 mg/kg body weight) with an opioid antagonist, naloxone hydrochloride, immediately before blood sampling. In the fasted oestradiol-treated ovariectomized rats, naloxone was able to prevent the suppression of pulsatile LH release. In the absence of oestradiol, however, naloxone was without effect on LH release in either the fasted or unfasted animals.
These experiments indicate that the suppression of pulsatile LH release after 48 h of fasting is dependent upon oestradiol and that endogenous opioids are involved in the suppression.
Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 129, 321–328