Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Interactions During Reproductive Senescence in the Rat

  • M. M. Wilkes
  • K. H. Lu
  • S. L. Fulton
  • S. S. C. Yen
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 113)


The neuroendocrine status of Long-Evans female rats was evaluated at several key stages of reproductive senescence. Young (4–8 mo), middle-aged (10–14 mo) and old (24–30 mo) animals were studied according to reproductive state. The reproductive states studied were (1) regularly cycling, (2) constant estrus and (3) pseudopregnant, as determined by vaginal smear cytology. Neuroendocrine parameters at the levels of the hypothalamus, pituitary and steroid-producing organs were compared between each group. DA3, E and NE concentrations in the median eminence of the hypothalamus were determined by a highly sensitive radioenzymatic assay. LRF content in the median eminence was measured by radioimmunoassay. Circulating levels of LH, FSH, PRL and six steroids were determined. Changes in hormone and neurotransmitter concentrations were demonstrated in association with the various stages of reproductive senescence and with age advancement. These changes involved the hypothalamic, pituitary and steroid systems. NE content in the median eminence, FSH in serum and circulating androstenedione were all significantly increased in middle-aged, cyclic rats prior to the onset of senescent anovulation. DA concentration in 24 mo. old constant estrous rats (30.7+7.7 pg/yg, N=6) and in 30 mo. old pseudo-pregnant rats (27.5+7.1 pg/]ig, N=6) was significantly reduced compared to young (6 mo. old), cyclic controls on proestrous (55.0+4.7 pg/yg, N=12). This DA reduction was associated with a 3-fold increase in circulating prolactin. The results are discussed in terms of a regulatory cascade model of female reproductive senescence (Finch, 1976).


Luteinizing Hormone Estrous Cycle Constant Estrus Median Eminence Reproductive Senescence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations used








gonadotropin releasing factor




prolactin inhibiting factor














human choronic gonadotropin


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. Wilkes
    • 1
  • K. H. Lu
    • 1
  • S. L. Fulton
    • 1
  • S. S. C. Yen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Reproductive Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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