Role of 5α-reduction in progesterone's ability to release FSH in estrogen-primed ovariectomized rats

Carla Putnam-Roberts, Darrell W. Brann, Virendra B. Mahesh

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7 Scopus citations


In ovariectomized estrogen-primed rats, progesterone as well as 5α-dihydroprogesterone (5α-DHP) are capable of inducing the release of gonadotropins. This study examined the need of 5α-reduction as a prerequisite for the action of progesterone. The 5α-reductase inhibitor, N,N-diethyl-4-methyl-3-oxo-4-aza-5α-androstane-17β-carboxamide was injected at a 1 or 2 mg dose/rat 2 h prior to an injection of 0.4 or 0.8 mg progesterone/kg body weight at 0900 h to immature ovariectomized, estrogen-primed rats and serum was analyzed for LH and FSH at 1500 h. Pituitary and hypothalamic 5α-reductase activity was measured at the time of progesterone administration and at the time of the surge by incubating tissue homogenates with [3H]progesterone. Substrate, ([3H]progesterone) and product ([3H]5α-DHP), were separated by reverse phase HPLC. The pituitary 5α-reductase activity was not blocked at 1500 h. However, both pituitary and hypothalamic 5α-reductase was blocked at the time of progesterone administration. No effect was seen by acute administration of the 5α-reductase inhibitor upon either the 0.4 or 0.8 mg progesterone/kg-induced release of LH and FSH. There was, however, a specific, significant inhibition of progesterone-induced FSH but not LH release when the 5α-reductase inhibition was sustained throughout the afternoon of the gonadotropin surge. These results indicate a biologically significant role for the irreversible 5α-reduction of progesterone in the modulation of the release of FSH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-882
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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