Detrimental effects of short-term ethanol exposure on reproductive function in the female rat. Academic Article uri icon


  • To more completely assess the means by which alcohol impairs the female reproductive cycle in rats, we have measured hypothalamic luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), pituitary LHRH receptor content, and the serum levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin (Prl), and progesterone (P). After two successive cycles, the animals began receiving either an alcohol or a isocaloric control liquid diet regimen beginning on the first day of diestrus, with continued monitoring of the estrous cycle throughout the experiment. An additional set of controls consisted of animals maintained on lab chow and water provided ad libitum. Our results indicate that those animals receiving the control diets showed uninterrupted estrous patterns, whereas those animals receiving the alcohol diet remained in diestrus. Additionally, the alcohol-treated animals showed an increase (p less than 0.05) in LHRH content, with a concomitant decrease (p less than 0.01) in serum LH, and an increase (p less than 0.01) in serum Prl. No significant differences were detected in serum FSH levels or pituitary LHRH receptor content. No differences were detected in serum P levels. These results indicate that short-term alcohol administration disrupts the female reproductive cycle, causing persistent diestrus, and support our hypothesis that the alcohol-induced depression in serum LH levels is due to a diminished release rate of hypothalamic LHRH.

published proceedings

  • Biol Reprod

author list (cited authors)

  • Rettori, V., Skelley, C. W., McCann, S. M., & Dees, W. L.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Rettori, V||Skelley, CW||McCann, SM||Dees, WL

publication date

  • December 1987