Regulation of the preovulatory gonadotropin surge by endogenous steroids

Virendra B. Mahesh, Darrell W. Brann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Estradiol secreted by growing ovarian follicle(s) has been considered classically to be the neural trigger for the preovulatory surge of gonadotropins. The observation that the estradiol-induced gonadotropin surge in ovariectomized rats is of lesser magnitude and duration than that found in the cycling rat at proestrus has resulted in a search for other steroid regulators. Progesterone is a major regulator of the preovulatory gonadotropin surge. It can only act in the presence of an estrogen background, which is necessary for the synthesis of progesterone receptors. In the estrogen-primed ovariectomized rat, progesterone is able to initiate and enhance the gonadotropin surge to the magnitude observed on the day of proestrus and limit it to 1 day. The physiological role of progesterone in the induction of the preovulatory gonadotropin surge has been demonstrated by the attenuation of the progesterone-induced surge and the endogenous proestrus surge by progesterone receptor antagonist RU486 and the progesterone synthesis inhibitor trilostane. The promoter region of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-β gene contains multiple progesterone response elements and progesterone brings about FSH release as well. The reduction of progesterone in the 5α-position appears to be important for the regulation of progesterone secretion. Corticosteroids appear to play a significant role in the secondary FSH surge on late proestrus and early estrus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-629
Number of pages14
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • FSH
  • GnRH
  • Gonadotropin surge
  • Hypothalamus
  • LH
  • Pituitary
  • Steroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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