Evidence that changes in the function of the subtypes of the receptors for gamma-amino butyric acid may be involved in the seasonal changes in the negative-feedback effects of estrogen on gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion and plasma luteinizing hormone levels in the ewe

Christopher J. Scott, Iain J. Clarke

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We have investigated the effects of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) agonists and antagonists to GABAA and GABAB receptors microinjected (1 microliter) into the medial preoptic area (MPOA) on LH secretion in ovariectomized (OVX) ewes with or without estrogen (E) treatment, during the nonbreeding season. Guide tubes (19 gauge) were placed into the MPOA of OVX ewes and injections of 1 microgram or 10 μ of the GABAA agonist muscimol or the GABAA antagonist bicuculline, and 10 μ of the GABAB agonist baclofen or the GABAB antagonist phaclofen were made into conscious animals. Jugular venous blood was collected at 10-min intervals for 3 h, the injection of GABA drug or vehicle was given and samples collected for a further 3 h. The plasma samples were assayed for LH. On completion of the experiments the brains were sectioned to locate the sites of injection. Thirty-four ewes were used, of which 30 had correct guide tube placement. In OVX sheep, both muscimol and bicuculline injection caused suppression of plasma LH concentrations, with a cessation of pulsatile release in many instances. Injection with baclofen or phaclofen into these sheep had no effect on LH secretion. When OVX sheep were treated with 0.5-cm Silastic implants (sc) of E for at least 7 days, there was a variable response to muscimol and bicuculline injection, depending on the degree of suppression of LH secretion by E. When E had little effect on plasma LH levels, muscimol and bicuculline both suppressed LH secretion in a similar manner to that observed in OVX ewes. When E treatment fully suppressed plasma LH levels, muscimol and bicuculline both stimulated LH secretion. This stimulation often took the form of a sustained, nonpulsatile secretion of LH. Baclofen injection into OVX ewes treated with E increased mean plasma LH levels through an increase in pulse amplitude, although there was only an effect on the amplitude of the first pulse after injection. Conversely, phaclofen injection in OVX ewes treated with E resulted in a reduction in LH pulse amplitude. These results provide evidence for a seasonal shift in the regulation of GnRH secretion by GABAergic neurons in the MPOA of the ewe. In contrast to the breeding season, where there was no effect of GABAB ligands, these appear to function in non-breeding season, this may be part of the mechanism for the seasonal shift in the negative-feedback effect of E on LH secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2904-2912
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

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