Five experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that PGs mediate the endotoxin-induced inhibition of pulsatile GnRH and LH secretion in the ewe. Our approach was to test whether the PG synthesis inhibitor, flurbiprofen, could reverse the inhibitory effects of endotoxin on pulsatile LH and GnRH secretion in ovariectomized ewes. Exp 1-4 were cross-over experiments in which ewes received either flurbiprofen or vehicle 2 weeks apart. Jugular blood samples were taken for LH analysis throughout a 9-h experimental period. Depending on the specific purpose of the experiment, flurbiprofen or vehicle was administered after 3.5 h, followed by endotoxin, vehicle, or ovarian steroids (estradiol plus progesterone) at 4 h. In Exp 1, flurbiprofen reversed the endotoxin-induced suppression of mean serum LH concentrations and the elevation of body temperature, In Exp 2, flurbiprofen prevented the endotoxin-induced inhibition of pulsatile LH secretion and stimulation of fever, reduced the stimulation of plasma cortisol and progesterone, but did not affect the rise in circulating tumor necrosis factor-α. In Exp 3, flurbiprofen in the absence of endotoxin had no effect on pulsatile LH secretion. In Exp 4, flurbiprofen failed to prevent suppression of pulsatile LH secretion induced by luteal phase levels of the ovarian steroids progesterone and estradiol, which produce a nonimmune suppression of gonadotropin secretion. In Exp 5, flurbiprofen prevented the endotoxin-induced inhibition of pulsatile GnRH release into pituitary portal blood. Our finding that this PG synthesis inhibitor reverses the inhibitory effect of endotoxin leads to the conclusion that PGs mediate the suppressive effects of this immune/inflammatory challenge on pulsatile GnRH and LH secretion.
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