Control of the preovulatory gonadotropin surge in the ewe. Academic Article uri icon


  • The aims of this study were to determine the effect of ovariectomy on the release of LH and FSH during the preovulatory gonadotropin surge and to ascertain, by the use of sodium pentobarbitone (NaPb), if the secretion of these pituitary hormones requires continuous stimulation from the hypothalamus. Sheep were treated with NaPb for 2 h beginning 1) immediately before the gonadotropin surge, 2) during the ascending limb of the gonadotropin surge, and 3) during the descending limb of the gonadotropin surge. Ewes were ovariectomized (ovx) at each of the time periods listed above, and intact ewes included were at times 2 and 3. A group of intact ewes was given 100 microgram gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in addition to NaPb at time 2, NaPb given during the ascending limb of the gonadotropin surge caused a transient fall in peripheral LH and FSH; however, the release of gonadotropins was reinitiated and the surge continued when the ewes recovered from anesthesia. Treatment with NaPb after the apex of the gonadotropin surge did not affect circulating levels of LH and FSH. Ewes given NaPb and ovx before the initiation of the gonadotropin surge released significantly less LH and FSH during the surge than the other treatment groups. The total amounts of LH and FSH released in intact and ovx ewes treated with NaPb after the surge was initiated were not different than those levels in the saline-treated controls. Intact ewes treated with 100 micrograms GnRH also released an amount of LH similar to that in the control group. We conclude that gonadotropin release from the pituitary gland requires the continual presence of GnRH during the ascending limb of the preovulatory gonadotropin surge, and that once the surge has been triggered, the ovaries do not appear to be required for further hypothalamic stimulation.

author list (cited authors)


citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • April 1981


  • Animals
  • Castration
  • Estradiol
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Ovulation
  • Sheep