Naloxone produces large increases in serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in normal males and females, supporting a role for endogenous opioids (EOP) in the tonic inhibition of LH. Since the antagonist apparently exerts no important effects on the pituitary, the reasonable assumption has been made that it elevates gonadotropin levels by affecting the release of LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) from the hypothalamus. However, at present there is no direct in vivo evidence supporting this widely-held view. In an attempt to directly demonstrate that naloxone increases the secretion of LHRH, and thereby elevattes serum LH levels, we examined whether a potent synthetic antagonist of LHRH ([D-p Glu1, D-Phe2, D-Trp3,6]-LHRH, GPT-LHRH) blocked the effects of naloxone in male rats with a normal response to naloxone and in those with a markedly enhanced sensitivity to the drug induced by a brief period of morphine pellet implantation. Our results demonstrated that GT-LHRH antagonized equipotent doses of LHRH (100 ng/kg) and naloxone (0.5 mg/kg) over a similar time course with approximately the same AD50. Most importantly, however, we showed that the GPT-LHRH produced equivalent, parallel shifts to the right in the dose-response curves for LHRH and naloxone, indicative of competitive inhibition. We also found that GPT-LHRH completely abolished the enhanced response to naloxone's effects on LH which occurs in morphine-pretreated rats. Since we observed no competition between LHRH and naloxone for their binding sites in pituitary or brain, the only viable interpretation of our results is that naloxone increases LH by inducing the release of LHRH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)