Groups of three goats at 50, 90 and 130 days of gestation were passively immunized against ovine LH (oLH) by i.v. infusion of 8 ml serum equivalent of the immunoglobulin fraction of rabbit anti-oLH serum (LHAS). Goats at the same stages of gestation as above served as controls and received 8 ml serum equivalent of the immunoglobulin fraction of normal rabbit serum (NRS). Plasma concentrations of progesterone were determined by specific radioimmunoassay of blood collected at 20-min intervals from 6 h before infusion of LHAS or NRS to 12 h after infusion. Less frequent sampling was performed from 2 days before to 6 days after infusion. Plasma from all LHAS-immunized goats exhibited binding of oLH. Twelve hours after immunization, titres ranged from 1:135 to 1:215. All LHAS-treated goats had titres of less than 1:10 by 5 days after immunization, but a low level of oLH binding was still detectable. Treatment with LHAS or NRS did not shorten the length of gestation, with all goats delivering live offspring between 142 and 147 days after conception. Plasma concentrations of LH ranged from less than 0·15 μg/l to 4·8 μg/l and were greater than 0·15 μg/l in 181 of 255 samples (71%) for both the NRS-treated group, throughout the experiment, and the LHAS-treated groups before infusion of antiserum. Luteinizing hormone was not detectable in plasma samples obtained after LHAS infusion in goats at 50 or 130 days of pregnancy. Plasma concentrations of LH exceeded 0·15 μg/l in only five of 51 (10%) samples in 90-day-pregnant goats treated with LHAS, the maximum value reached being 0·80 μg/l.
Plasma concentrations of progesterone did not alter significantly after infusion of LHAS or NRS at 50, 90 or 130 days of gestation, nor were they significantly different between the groups treated with LHAS and NRS.
The role of LH in the maintenance of pregnancy in the goat after 50 days of gestation is questioned.
J. Endocr. (1987) 114, 413–436