Luteinizing Hormone Responses to N-Methyl-D,L-Aspartate During a Photoperiodically-lnduced Reproductive Cycle in the Ram

G A Lincoln, F C Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Abstract Aspartate and glutamate represent a major class of excitatory amino-acid neurotransmitters in the vertebrate brain, and stimulation of gtutaminergic receptors by the specific agonist N-methyl-D, L-aspartate (NMDA) induces luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and LH secretion. In this study, we used NMDA as a probe to investigate the hypothalamic regulation of LH secretion at different stages of a reproductive cycle in Soay rams induced by exposure to alternating 16-week periods of long and short days. NMDA (20 mg/kg) injected intravenously caused an acute increase in blood plasma concentrations of LH, with a significant increase within 2 to 4 min, and peak levels within 20 min. The magnitude of the response changed markedly during the cycle; it was greatest in the sexually inactive phase under long days (with a linear dose-response over the range 1 to 20 mg/kg NMDA) and least in the sexually active phase under short days (only 20 mg/kg NMDA produced a small response). Pituitary responsiveness to a standard dose of LHRH (5.3 ng/kg iv) varied only slightly at the different stages and could not account for the observed changes in the LH response to NMDA. There were the expected changes in the endogenous pattern of LH secretion during the cycle, with high frequency LH pulses occurring during the sexually active phase. There was an inverse relationship between the frequency of LH pulses and the LH response to NMDA. Pretreatment of rams with an LHRH antagonist (36 mug/kg iv; Syntex, RS18286) totally blocked the LH response to both NMDA and LHRH, while in a separate study, treatment with dexamethasone (synthetic glucocorticoid, 133.4 mug/kg iv) partially blocked the LH responses. The overall results indicate that NMDA stimulates LHRH secretion in the ram and the response is independent of the activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. The variation in the LH response during the reproductive cycle may reflect changes in the releasable stores of LHRH in the median eminence. These appear to be depleted in the sexually active phase, when LHRH is secreted in pulses at high frequency. The variation in the response to NMDA may also reflect changes in release of endogenous excitatory amino-acids, which act via NMDA receptors to form part of the physiological regulation of the reproductive cycle in the ram.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-17
    Number of pages291
    JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


    Dive into the research topics of 'Luteinizing Hormone Responses to N-Methyl-D,L-Aspartate During a Photoperiodically-lnduced Reproductive Cycle in the Ram'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this