Glucocorticoids, the end-product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, suppress gonadotropin release by acting at the level of the pituitary gland. However, experimental evidence suggests that they may also act at the hypothalamic level to suppress gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) release. The lack of a direct demonstration of this assumption, prompted us to evaluate the effects of glucocorticoids on hypothalamic GnRH release from individually-incubated hemi-hypothalami explanted from male rats. Since testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and progesterone suppress GnRH release and androgens potentiate the effects of glucocorticoids on GnRH release, we studied also the interaction of these steroids with glucocorticoids on GnRH release. Corticosterone (B), the main glucocorticoid of the rodents with greater affinity for the type I glucocorticoid receptor, and dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic type II glucocorticoid receptor agonist, were able to suppress basal GnRH release in a concentration-dependent fashion. DEX induced a more profound suppression of GnRH release. Neither T (0.1 nM) nor DHT (0.01 nM) modulated the suppressive effects of low (10 nM) or high (100 nM) concentrations of B on GnRH release. On the other hand, progesterone counteracted the suppressive effect of low concentrations of B (10 nM) on GnRH release, but had no effect on the suppression caused by a higher concentration of B (100 nM). The ability of glucocorticoids to inhibit directly GnRH release suggests that these stress-responsive hormones act also at the hypothalamic level to suppress the reproductive function. The suppressive effect of B was not modulated by androgens, but it was neutralized by progesterone, at least when B was used at low concentrations. We speculate that this steroid "protects" the GnRH-secreting neuron only during basal, but not stress-induced, HPA axis activity when the concentrations of glucocorticoids are more elevated.
|Titolo:||Glucocorticoids inhibit gonadotropin-releasing hormone by acting directly at the hypothalamic level|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1999|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|