In both the rodent and primate, administration of progesterone elicits an acute surge-like release of LH in the setting of prior estrogen treatment. Whether these facilitative effects of estrogen and progesterone on gonadotropin secretion reside at pituitary or hypothalamic loci is not known. To further investigate the mechanisms by which estrogen combined with progesterone amplifies gonadotropin secretion, we studied the responses of seven estrogen-primed postmenopausal women to progesterone administration with or without cotreatment with a potent GnRH antagonist, [Ac-D2Nal1, D4ClPhe2, D3Pal3, Arg5, DGlu6(AA), DAla10]GnRH. Repetitive blood sampling for the later measurement of serum concentrations of LH, FSH, and PRL was begun 4 h before the administration of progesterone and continued for 36 h. We observed that progesterone administration after 72 h of priming with ethinyl estradiol resulted in a surge-like release of LH and FSH in all subjects. Concomitant administration of the GnRH antagonist abolished the surge-like release of both gonadotropins in all subjects. In contrast, administration of the antagonist had no effect on PRL release. These results indicate that endogenous GnRH action is an obligatory component of the progesterone-induced surge-like release of both gonadotropic hormones in the estrogen-primed human.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical