The decline in pulsatile LH secretion and pituitary responsiveness to GnRH as pregnancy advances may be due to non-steroidal factors secreted by the ovine corpus luteum of pregnancy. Corpora lutea from ten ewes on days 70-80 of gestation were homogenized, charcoal-treated and, together with charcoal-treated follicular fluid from superovulated women, were subjected to inhibin immunoaffinity chromatography, reducing dimeric inhibin A and B by > 90% and abolishing inhibin bioactivity. These preparations were investigated using cultures of rat pituitary cells. GnRH-induced LH and FSH secretion in vitro was reduced by ovine corpus luteum extract and human follicular fluid by 47 +/- 5% and 42 +/- 5% of control LH and by 37 +/- 5% and 50 +/- 10% of control FSH, respectively (P < 0.001). Extracts prepared from corpora lutea and placentae that were collected on days 50, 90 and 120 of pregnancy (five ewes per stage of pregnancy) showed increased GnRH-induced LH-suppressing bioactivity, particularly in the case of the placental extracts, with a threefold increase in activity. When partially purified by pseudochromatofocusing, GnRH-induced LH-suppressing bioactivity in extracts of ovine corpora lutea was identified at pH 5.40 and 5.77. Although these values are similar to published gonadotrophin surge-attenuating factor (GnSAF) bioactivity pi values, a GnSAF-blocking antiserum had no consistent effect on ovine corpus luteum extract GnRH-induced LH-suppressing bioactivity. It was concluded that the ovine corpus luteum of pregnancy contains a non-steroidal, non-inhibin factor, probably not GnSAF, that has the ability to reduce pituitary responsiveness to GnRH in vitro.
- attenuating factor bioactivity
- human follicular-fluid
- rat pituitary
- superovulated women
- bovine inhibin