IGF-1 administration to prepubertal female rats can overcome delayed puberty caused by maternal Pb exposure.
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Because prepubertal female rats maternally exposed to lead (Pb) exhibit suppressed serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and delayed puberty, we investigated the ability of centrally administered IGF-1 to stimulate luteinizing hormone (LH) release in vivo and LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) release in vitro from maternally Pb-exposed prepubertal female rats. Additionally, we assessed whether IGF-1 replacement could affect the timing of female puberty. Results demonstrated that IGF-1 stimulated significantly LH release in both control and Pb-exposed animals. When median eminences from control and Pb-exposed females were incubated with rat IGF-1 in vitro, they responded similarly with significant peptide-induced LHRH release. Lastly, we showed IGF-1 replacement reversed the delay in puberty caused by Pb. These results indicate the central LHRH response to IGF-1 is intact and that Pb-induced delayed puberty is due, at least in part, to suppressed circulating IGF-1 available to the hypothalamus.