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L. S. Young, S. I. Naik and R. N. Clayton


Exogenous cyclic adenosine nucleotides increase gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptors in intact cultured rat pituitary cells in a similar manner to that observed with GnRH itself. In this study the calcium and microtubule dependency of GnRH receptor up-regulation was examined in vitro. Treatment of pituitary cells in Ca2+ and serum-containing media with either GnRH (1 nmol/l), K+ (58 mmol/l) or dibutyryl cyclic AMP (dbcAMP; 1 mmol/l) for 7–10 h routinely resulted in a 50–100% increase in GnRH receptors. Incubation of pituitary cells with the calcium channel blocker verapamil, for 7 h, or the calcium chelator EGTA, for 10 h, had no effect on basal receptor levels but prevented the increase in GnRH receptors stimulated by either GnRH, K+ or dbcAMP. Luteinizing hormone release measured with the same stimulators over a 3-h period was prevented by both verapamil and EGTA. Calcium ionophore (A23187) increased GnRH receptors by 40–60% at low concentrations (10 and 100 nmol/l) while higher concentrations (10 and 100 μmol/l) reduced receptor levels. Luteinizing hormone release was not increased by receptor-stimulating concentrations of A23187, but was by higher concentrations (10 μmol/l). None of these pretreatments, for up to 10 h, impaired the subsequent LH response of the cells to increasing doses of GnRH.

Vinblastine (1 μmol/l did not affect basal receptor levels but markedly reduced the increase in GnRH receptors stimulated by GnRH, K+ and dbcAMP. This concentration of vinblastine had no effect on LH release. These results indicate that receptor stimulation by GnRH, K+ and dbcAMP is a calcium-dependent process requiring the integrity of the microtubule system and there is a different calcium requirement for the processes of GnRH receptor up-regulation and LH secretion.

J. Endocr. (1985) 107, 49–56

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S. I. Naik, G. Saade, A. Detta and R. N. Clayton


A single injection of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) (60 ng s.c., 42·9 nmol) induced biphasic GnRH receptor regulation in normal intact adult female mice. A transient 22% receptor decrease occurred 30–60 min after injection of GnRH when peak serum decapeptide concentrations were reached (137 ± 41 (s.e.m.) ng/l). This GnRH receptor decrease occurred shortly after the peak serum LH values at 15–30 min. The subsequent rapid (within 1 h) return of GnRH receptor levels to normal suggested transient receptor occupancy by GnRH rather than true receptor loss. At 8 h after injection of GnRH a significant 35% increase in GnRH receptors was consistently observed, when serum GnRH levels were undetectable and serum LH had returned to basal levels. This receptor increase was not due to increased receptor affinity, and was prevented by a non-specific protein synthesis inhibitor.

Ovariectomy, which caused a 50% fall in GnRH receptors (59·4 ± 4·9 fmol/pituitary gland in intact controls; 26·9 ± 2·6 in ovariectomized mice) abolished the induction by GnRH of its own receptors, although the initial transient decrease occurred over the period of the acute serum LH and FSH rise. Despite a 50% reduction in GnRH receptors in ovariectomized mice, increased serum gonadotrophin levels and responsiveness to GnRH were maintained, indicating dissociation between receptor changes and gonadotrophin levels.

No GnRH receptor up-regulation was observed 8 h after a single GnRH injection (60 ng s.c.) in either intact or orchidectomized normal male mice. However, the same treatment doubled GnRH receptors in GnRH-deficient (hpg) female mice.

While GnRH appears to up-regulate its own receptors by a direct action on pituitary gonadotrophs in the GnRH-deficient mouse its action in the normal female mouse pituitary appears secondary to stimulation of a gonadal product, presumably oestrogens.

J. Endocr. (1985) 107, 41–47