The role of noradrenaline in the generation of the preovulatory LH surge in the ewe

Iain Clarke, Christopher Scott, Alda Pereira, Sueli Pompolo

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing plasma estrogen (E) levels during the follicular phase of the estrous cycle trigger the pre-ovulatory surge of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)/LH. Noradrenaline (NA)-producing cells of the brain stem are involved in regulating GnRH cells and project to the preoptic area (POA) and bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BnST). Input to GnRH cells may be direct or indirect, via relay neurons in the POA/BnST. To investigate this, we ascertained whether an '1-adrenergic antagonist would block/delay the LH surge in ovariectomised (OVX), E-treated ewes. E benzoate (EB) (50 'g) was injected (i.m.) and Doxazosin (100 nmol/h) or vehicle was infused into the third ventricle 2'26 h after EB injection. Doxazosin reduced the magnitude of the LH surge, but did not affect timing. To determine if NA is released in the POA/BnST of cyclic ewes, we immunostained dopamine-ß-hydroxylase (DBH) in terminal fields. Reduced numbers of varicosities staining for DBH indicates release of NA. The number of varicosities immunostained for DBH was reduced in the dorsal and lateral BnST during the follicular phase and during the preovulatory LH surge compared to the luteal phase. These data suggest that noradrenergic mechanisms are involved in generation of the GnRH/LH surge via projections to the BnST and relay to GnRH cells. Since Doxasozin reduced the magnitude of the LH surge in the E-treated OVX ewe, and release of NA in cyclic ewes occurred during the follicular phase of the estrous cycle, we speculate that NA is a permissive factor in surge generation. Thus, increased noradrenergic activity is not a trigger mechanism for initiation of the surge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-275
Number of pages16
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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