[Effect of the steroid sex hormones on the LH and FSH responses to LHRH in the normal subject].Pathol Biol (Paris). 1975 Dec; 23(10):917-22.PB
In man both basal gonadotrophin levels and the pituitary responses to LHRH remained relatively constant throughout life. In women the pituitary sensitivity varied in the menstrual cycle due to the typical cyclic variation of oestradiol and progesterone. The max delta LH increase to 100 mug LHRH was observed in the periovulatory period (183 +/- 41 mU/ml); it was also significantly higher in the luteal (49 +/- 7 mu/ml) than in the early follicular phase (18 +/- 3 mU/ml). The effect of exogenous sex steroid hormones taken as contraceptive drugs was then studied in 15 women. Significantly lower LH and FSH basal values as well as responses to LHRH were observed in 8 normal women under oral combined contraceptives. Conversely, in 7 women under oral sequential contraceptives, basal LH and FSH remained in the normal range. The LH-FSH responses were increased and delayed when these tests were performed during the period of estrogen treatment. Thus, with combined oral contraceptives, constant and high levels of estrogens and progesterone not only inhibit the LH peak, but also decrease the basal LH-FSH levels and responses to releasing hormone. Conversely, with sequential oral contraceptives, the low level of estradiol does not inhibit these responses and even enhances them. In menopausal women both basal and gonadotrophin responses to LHRH were increased indicating an important pituitary reserve. In menstruating women a significant estradiol increase is observed 2 and 4 hours after a 100 mug LHRH injection, both during the follicular and the luteal phases whereas progesterone increases only in the luteal phase. In men, testosterone was found to increase 4 hours after a 100 mug LHRH injection. These studies show that in normal subjects, sex steroid hormones are important regulators of the sensitivity of the pituitary responsiveness to releasing hormone.