The biosynthesis of polyamines, an ubiquitous group of amines shown to be essential for normal cellular growth and differentiation, was studied in the rat anterior pituitary gland during the different stages of the oestrous cycle. The activity of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), which catalyses the rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of polyamines, was low during oestrus, metoestrus and dioestrus. However, a marked transitory rise in ODC activity was found in the pituitary gland on the evening of pro-oestrus. The rise in ODC activity was accompanied by an increase in the pituitary content of the polyamines putrescine and spermidine.
Ovariectomy did not significantly change the basal ODC activity in the pituitary gland. Oestrogen treatment of ovariectomized rats resulted in a marked stimulation of pituitary polyamine biosynthesis. The largest effects were observed when oestrogen was given as two injections 72 h apart, which gave rise to levels of ODC activity comparable to those observed on the evening of pro-oestrus.
The increase in polyamine synthesis in the anterior pituitary gland during pro-oestrus appeared not to be related to the preovulatory secretion of LH or prolactin, since neither LH-releasing hormone nor thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (which induces a secretion of prolactin) affected pituitary ODC activity. The observed biosynthesis of polyamines may be associated with the cellular proliferation which occurs in the anterior pituitary gland at oestrus.
J. Endocr. (1985) 107, 83–87