Lack of an effect of morphine or naloxone on the oestrogen-induced LH surge in anoestrous ewes

R. J.E. Horton, I. J. Clarke

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To determine whether opioid mechanisms modulate the positive feedback effect of oestrogen on LH secretion, anoestrous ewes were given a single injection of 50μg oestradiol benzoate (OB), followed by infusions of morphine or naloxone. All sheep were injected i.m. with 50 μg OB at 00.00 h. In experiment 1, sheep were given i.v. infusions of the following: group 1, 12 ml saline/h from 09.00 to 15.00 h (n = 12); group 2, 40 mg naloxone/h from 09.00 to 12.00 h (n = 5); group 3, 40 mg naloxone/h from 10.00 to 14.00 h (n = 5); group 4, 10 mg morphine/h from 09.00 to 15.00 h (n = 5); and group 5, 20 mg morphine/h from 09.00 to 15.00 h (n = 5). Jugular blood samples were taken at 30-min intervals to monitor LH surges, which commenced 13.0 ± 0.6 h after injection of OB in control (OB plus saline) ewes. The infusions of naloxone or morphine did not affect the timing or magnitude of the oestrogen-induced LH surge. To examine the possibility that opioidergic regulation of the LH surge occurred earlier than the infusion regimens in experiment 1, sheep were infused from the time of the OB injection (00.00 h) until 15.00 h. In this experiment (experiment 2), sheep were given i.v. infusions of the following: group 1, 4.2 ml saline/h (n = 5); group 2, 20 mg naloxone/h (n = 5); and group 3, 20 mg morphine/h (n = 5). As in experiment 1, treatment with neither the opioid agonist or antagonist was able to alter the positive feedback response of OB. These results that neither the timing of the LH surge or the peak concentrations of LH achieved in plasma are influenced by opiates in this model. This suggests that in contrast to the rat, the mechanisms responsible for generating the oestrogen-induced preovulatory-like LH surge in the anoestrous ewe do not involve any endogenous opioid peptide mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

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