The GLP-1 agonist, exendin-4, stimulates LH secretion in female sheep

Elizabeth M Simpson , Iain J Clarke, Christopher J Scott, Cyril P Stephen, Alexandra Rao, Allan J Gunn

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Our previous studies showed that microinjection into the median eminence of the sheep of glucagon-like peptide- 1 (GLP-1) or its receptor agonist exendin-4 stimulates luteinising hormone (LH) secretion, but it is unknown whether the same effect may be obtained by systemic administration of the same. The present study measured the response in terms of plasma LH concentrations to intravenous (iv) infusion of exendin-4. A preliminary study showed that infusion of 2 mg exendin-4 into ewes produced a greater LH response in the follicular phase of the oestrous cycle than the luteal phase. Accordingly, the main study monitored plasma LH levels in response to either 0.5 mg or 2 mg exendin-4 or vehicle (normal saline) delivered by jugular infusion for 1 h in the follicular phase of the oestrous cycle. Blood samples were collected at 10 min intervals before, during and after infusion. Both doses of exendin-4 increased mean plasma LH concentrations and increased LH peripheral pulse amplitude. There was no effect on inter-pulse interval or timing of the preovulatory LH surge. These doses of exendin-4 did not alter plasma insulin or glucose concentrations. Quantitative PCR of the gastrointestinal tract samples from a population of ewes confirmed the expression of the preproglucagon gene (GCG). Expression increased aborally and was greatest in the rectum. It is concluded that endogenous GLP-1, most likely derived from the hindgut, may act systemically to stimulate LH secretion. The present data suggest that this effect may be obtained with levels of agonist that are lower than those functioning as an incretin.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere230105
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2023


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