Gonadotropin secretion and pituitary responsiveness to GnRH in mares with granulosa-theca cell tumor

Riccardo Zelli, Lakamy Sylla, Maurizio Monaci, Giuseppe Stradaioli, Lillian E. Sibley, Janet F. Roser, Coralie Munro, Irwin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Granulosa-theca cell tumors (GTCTs) are able to secrete variable amounts of sex steroids and immunoreactive inhibin (ir-INH). Although the pituitary appears to be affected by the presence of a GTCT, pituitary responsiveness to exogenous GnRH has not been examined. The aims of the present study were to: (i) assess the plasma hormone concentrations of ir-INH, gonadotropins and sex steroids in eight mares with GTCT and (ii) assess the responsiveness of pituitary gonadotroph cells to exogenous GnRH stimulus both before and after tumor removal. In seven mares, the contralateral ovary was firm, small and inactive. Histopathological observations of the tumors confirmed the presumptive diagnosis of a GTCT. Four mares, judged to be in vernal transition period (n = 2) and in the breeding season (n = 2), were used as controls. A single intravenous injection of 40 μg of GnRH agonist was given to each mare and blood samples were collected every 15 min from 2 h before to 4 h after injection. In four GTCT mares, this procedure was repeated 20 (n = 2) and 90 (n = 2) days after tumors removal. All plasma samples were analyzed for concentrations of ir-INH, LH, FSH, estradiol-17β (E2), testosterone (T) by RIA and progesterone (P) by EIA. Results showed that E2 levels were significantly higher (P < 0.001) in control animals compared to E2 levels in GTCT mares before and after surgery. P and T concentrations were not statistically different between the groups. Baseline levels of ir-INH were greater (P < 0.05) in GTCT mares before surgery than in control mares, and decreased to undetectable levels after neoplasia ablation. Baseline FSH did not differ between control and GTCT animals either before or after the ovaries were removed. LH baseline values appeared to be higher for affected mares, but the difference was not statistically significant. Maximum release (MR) and area under the gonadotrophin release curve (AUC) after the GnRH challenge for both the gonadotrophins were similar between the groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1218
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006


  • FSH
  • GnRH
  • Inhibin
  • LH
  • Mares

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Equine
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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