Hormone ontogeny in the ovine fetus. XVIII. The effect of an opioid antagonist on luteinizing hormone secretion

L. Cuttler, C. Egli, Dennis M Styne, S. L. Kaplan, M. M. Grumbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Endogenous opioid-like peptides influence gonadotropin release in adult animals and man; however, the role of these peptides in the regulation of fetal LH secretion is not known. We administered naloxone hydrochloride (1.3 mg/kg iv), a specific opioid receptor antagonist, to 22 chronically catheterized ovine fetuses of gestational ages 94-143 days (term = 147 days). As a control, each fetus also received the vehicle on a separate occasion, the sequence of the studies being randomized. After the administration of naloxone, LH secretion increased from 38.6 ± 5.8 to 114 ± 21 ng/h ml-1 (P < 0.001); LH release was not affected by administration of the vehicle. Morphine (13 mg/kg) and naloxone (1.3 mg/kg) were administered together to three fetuses (gastational age 94-105 days); LH secretion was sharply reduced from 411 ± 14.3 ng/h ml-1 after naloxone alone to 53 ± 17.5 ng/h ml-1 after the administration of both naloxone and morphine (P < 0.01). The response to naloxone varied with gestational age. Fetuses of 94-115 days showed a significantly higher increment in LH secretion when given naloxone (112.3 ± 30.7 ng/h ml-1) than did older fetuses of gestational age 126-143 days (64.8 ± 20.8 ng/h ml-1) (P < 0.02). These findings indicate that, in the ovine fetus endogenous opioid-like peptides exert a tonic suppressive effect on LH secretion at least as early as 94 days gestation. Moveover, the effectiveness of naloxone in augmenting LH release decreases with advancing gestational age. This latter observation supports the concept that, in the ovine fetus, endogenous opioid tone is not the sole factor involved in the dampened fetal LH secretion which is characteristic of late gestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1997-2002
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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