The changes in plasma concentrations of inhibins A, B and pro-alpha C were determined in the cyclic golden hamster during follicular atresia induced with antiserum against luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH-AS) at 1100 h on day 4 (day 1=day of ovulation). Follicular status in the ovary was also studied by determining the number of follicles ovulating in response to human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) injection. The time-courses of changes in plasma concentrations of inhibins A, B and pro-alpha C were different from each other during induced follicular atresia and subsequent follicular development. Plasma concentrations of inhibin A decreased to 58.6% of initial values by 24 h after LHRH-AS treatment, and then remained relatively low until at least 60 h later. Plasma concentrations of inhibin B decreased to 64.2% of the initial values by 18 h after LHRH-AS treatment and remained at basal values for 36 h, but increased abruptly to greater than initial values at 42 h after the treatment. Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alpha C increased at 6 and 12 h, decreased suddenly to 21.9% of the initial values by 24 h after LHRH-AS treatment, and then gradually increased until 60 h after LHRH-AS. The number of follicles responding to hCG decreased gradually between 0 and 30 h after LHRH-AS, when no ovulations were observed, and then gradually increased until 60 h. The changes in follicular ovulatory responses to hCG correlated with the plasma profile of inhibin A throughout the experiment. These results suggest that inhibin A is mainly secreted by large antral follicles. In contrast, during the subsequent follicular development, the plasma concentration of inhibin B increased earlier than that of inhibin A. These results suggest that inhibin B is secreted by small and large antral follicles. Plasma concentrations of inhibin pro-alpha C were high at a time when plasma concentrations of oestradiol-17 beta had already decreased, indicating that inhibin pro-alpha C is secreted not only from healthy follicles but also from early atretic antral follicles.
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