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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2019) 3 RDRRDR34 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.3.034

Department of Veterinary Clinical Science and Animal Husbandry, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, South Wirral, L64 7TE, UK

Transport of post-partum cows or sheep before an oestradiol-induced LH surge delayed gonadotrophin secretion possibly by affecting hypothalamic activity but not via an opioid mediated mechanism as the effect could not be reversed by naloxone. In addition, reduced LH responses to GnRH were observed in cattle during transport. In sheep, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) also diminished the LH response to GnRH, but only when GnRH was administered 3 h after ACTH, not after 0.5 h. This finding suggests that very early suppression of LH secretion by stressors is not mediated by ACTH action at the pituitary but that immediate activation of the sympathetic nervous system may be involved. In ewes during the breeding season, repeated exposure to GnRH at intervals of 2 h during transport resulted in lower LH responses to the second and third injections. When anoestrous ewes were treated with oestradiol and GnRH while being restrained and isolated, the onset of the LH surge was delayed. The effects of hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal hyperactivity on LH release may involve suppression of GnRH receptor activity, a reduction in releasable LH, or both factors. Studies in vitro with perifused ovine pituitaries showed that ACTH or corticotrophin releasing hormone markedly suppressed LH secretion in response to the second of two exposures to GnRH. This occurred with pituitaries obtained from anoestrous ewes irrespective of prior treatment with oestradiol, suggesting that compounds from the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal do not exert effects on the oestradiol-sensitizing mechanisms on the pituitary. In conclusion, stressors affect reproductive function via actions at the hypothalamus as well as impairing pituitary LH release induced by GnRH.

© 1995 Journals of Reproduction and Fertility Ltd

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