Estrogen induces premature luteal regression in rhesus monkeys during spontaneous menstrual cycles, but not in cycles driven by exogenous gonadotropin-releasing hormone

James S. Hutchison, Anthony J. Zeleznik, Carolyn J. Kubik, Anthony J. Zeleznik, Paul B. Nelson

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23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Administration of exogenous estradiol during the mid- to late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle results in premature regression of the corpus luteum. The present study was initiated to identify the site of action of estrogen as well as to determine why administration of estrogen during the early luteal phase of the menstrual cycle does not result in luteolysis. Based upon extant literature, we hypothesized that estrogen and progesterone synergize to promote premature luteal regression. We tested this hypothesis in intact, spontaneously cycling rhesus monkeys by inserting estradiol, progesterone, or estrogen plus progesterone capsules on days 2 through 6 of the luteal phase. Insertion of estrogen or progesterone capsules alone did not advance luteolysis compared with the effect of control empty implants (n = 3). In contrast, insertion of estrogen plus progesterone implants on days 2 through 6 of the luteal phase resulted in a significant lowering of serum progesterone concentrations, and menses was advanced 5†6 days compared with control cycles. On the basis of these findings in spontaneously cycling monkeys, we speculated that estrogen treatment causes luteal regression only in the presence of a progesterone-mediated decrease in LH pulse frequency. To test this hypothesis, we used rhesus monkeys whose endogenous gonadotropin secretion was abolished by either placement of radiofrequency lesions in the mediobasal hypothalamus or transection of the hypothalamic-pituitary stalk. Ovulatory menstrual cycles were restored by pulsatile administration of exogenous synthetic GnRH. Insertion of estradiol capsules during the luteal phase into animals whose gonadotropin pulse frequency was set at either one pulse per h or one pulse per 8 h failed to cause premature luteal regression (n = 4). On the basis of these findings in spontaneously cycling monkeys, we speculated that estrogen treatment causes luteal regression only in the presence of a progesterone-mediated decrease in LH pulse frequency. To test this hypothesis, we used rhesus monkeys whose endogenous gonadotropin secretion was abolished by either placement of radiofrequency lesions in the mediobasal hypothalamus or transection of the hypothalamic-pituitary stalk. Ovulatory menstrual cycles were restored by pulsatile administration of exogenous synthetic GnRH. Insertion of estradiol capsules during the luteal phase into animals whose gonadotropin pulse frequency was set at either one pulse per h or one pulse per 8 h failed to cause premature luteal regression (n = 4).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-474
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrinology
Volume121
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 1987

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology

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