Free alpha-subunit response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone in women with polycystic ovaries
The response of glycoprotein hormone free alpha-subunit to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) was evaluated in 12 women with polycystic ovaries (PCOs). Six of these women were premedicated for 3 days with micronized 17 beta-estradiol before receiving a 100-micrograms bolus of GnRH. In nonmedicated PCO patients, GnRH did not significantly alter basal free alpha-subunit levels. In four of the six PCO patients receiving estrogen premedication, a significant increase in free alpha-subunit was observed; these four patients had low progesterone levels at the time of the GnRH test. Among the six premedicated patients, two had elevated (greater than 4 ng/ml) progesterone levels, and the GnRH tests showed no significant effect on the levels of free alpha-subunit. The study revealed a dissociation between the free alpha-subunit responses to GnRH and the responses of luteinizing hormone; a closer relationship was observed between free alpha-subunit and follicle-stimulating hormone responses. It was concluded that the lack of a free alpha-subunit response to GnRH in PCO patients is not due to a primary inability of the pituitary gonadotroph to produce free alpha-subunit but is a consequence of an altered estrogenic milieu, and a free alpha-subunit response to GnRH may reflect the replenishment of both follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone in the gonadotrope.
Relaxin in the pregnant baboon: evidence for local production in reproductive tissues
We examined the nonluteal production of relaxin in the pregnant baboon. In experimental animals (n = 5), the corpus luteum-bearing ovary was removed in early pregnancy (days 25-30), and intact pregnant baboons served as controls. In both groups of baboons, peripheral, uterine, and ovarian venous blood samples and amniotic fluid were collected immediately before hysterotomy, which was performed late in pregnancy (days 139-142). After hysterotomy, samples of reproductive and control tissues were obtained (placenta, decidua, myometrium, fetal membranes, and omentum). Relaxin concentrations were determined in all samples using an antiporcine relaxin RIA. In unilaterally oophorectomized pregnant baboons, peripheral plasma levels of relaxin were below the limits of detection (less than 157 pg/ml) for 100 days following corpus luteum removal, while levels in control pregnant baboons were greater than 1000 pg/ml. Relaxin levels in uterine venous plasma were comparable to peripheral plasma levels in each group. Relaxin concentrations in amniotic fluid of both groups were below the limits of detection (less than 157 pg/ml). Relaxin was found in decidua, placenta, and myometrium in those pregnant baboons in which the corpus luteum-bearing ovary had been removed over 100 days earlier. This finding together with the absence of a relaxin gradient in uterine venous plasma and undetectable relaxin levels in amniotic fluid is a strong indication of local relaxin production in reproductive tissues without contribution to peripheral plasma levels.