Effects of steroid implants on the prepubertal increase in circulating gonadotropins and sexual receptivity in the female rabbit
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The pubertal increase in gonadotropins in the female rabbit was inhibited 14-42-fold with Silastic implants of progesterone (P4) testosterone propionate (TP), estradiol benzoate (EB) or P4/EB placed subcutaneously on Day 24 of life. Rabbits with empty implants showed the normal prepubertal increase in circulating gonadotropins. By contrast, rabbits with implants of P4 only, had a 2-fold decrease in LH secretion when peak areas were compared. However, FSH secretion though slightly depressed was not significantly different from controls. The prepubertal increase in circulating gonadotropins was completely suppressed by implants of EB, TP and combined P4/EB. At 115-days-of-age, sexual receptivity and mating were absent in EB-treated animals and significantly suppressed in P4-treated ones when compared to controls, all of which mated. Mating was not completely inhibited in TP and combined P4/EB animals. Corpora lutea were found in all rabbits that mated. In the sexually non-receptive does, vaginal stimulation induced an LH surge in 2 of 15 animals. Ovarian weights and follicular development were significantly suppressed in rabbits with EB implants. Ovarian estradiol content was significantly increased in P4- and TP-treated rabbits. Maximum specific binding for [3H]naloxone was suppressed in the hypothalami of P4-treated rabbits. These results suggest that the prepubertal increase in circulating gonadotropins may have an essential role in the control of sexual maturation in the female rabbit.
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