Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alphaC, inhibin A and inhibin B were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at 6 h intervals throughout the 4-day oestrous cycle of the golden hamster. Plasma concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestradiol-17beta were also measured by radioimmunoassay during the oestrous cycle. Plasma concentrations of inhibin A increased from the early morning of day 1 (day 1=day of ovulation) and reached plateau levels at 0500 h on day 2. An abrupt increase in plasma concentrations of inhibin A was found at 1700 h on day 4, when the preovulatory FSH surge was observed. An increase in plasma concentrations of inhibin B occurred on day 1 and reached plateau levels at 1700 h on day 1. The levels remained elevated until 0500 h on day 4 and declined gradually by 2300 h on day 4. Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alphaC gradually increased with some fluctuation from day 1 to 1700 h on day 4 and then declined. Significant negative relationships were noted between plasma FSH and both dimeric forms of inhibin from day 1 to day 3. Significant positive relationships were found between plasma oestradiol-17beta and inhibin A or inhibin pro-alphaC throughout the oestrous cycle. In contrast, no significant relationship was found between plasma oestradiol-17beta and inhibin B. These findings suggest that both dimeric forms of inhibin play a role in the regulation of FSH secretion during follicular development. These findings also suggest that inhibin pro-alphaC could be secreted primarily by large follicles, and early atretic follicles could also be responsible for inhibin pro-alphaC secretion. On the other hand, the secretory pattern of dimeric inhibins might shift from inhibin B to inhibin A with follicular development.
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