A pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulus is required to increase transcription of the gonadotropin subunit genes: evidence for differential regulation of transcription by pulse frequency in vivo

Endocrinology. 1991 Jan;128(1):509-17. doi: 10.1210/endo-128-1-509.


Previous results have shown that the pattern of GnRH pulses (amplitude and frequency) can differentially regulate expression of gonadotropin subunit cytoplasmic messenger RNA (mRNA) concentrations. The present study examined the effect of GnRH pulses on alpha, LH-beta and FSH-beta transcription rates as determined by nuclear runoff transcription assay. GnRH pulses (saline to controls) were given to castrate, testosterone-replaced male rats, and the rate of subunit gene transcription was measured in isolated pituitary nuclei. The effect of GnRH treatment duration was examined by giving GnRH pulses (25 ng/pulse at 30-min intervals) for 1, 4, or 24 h. The basal transcription rates [expressed as parts per million (ppm)] were 82 +/- 25 for alpha; 39 +/- 19 for LH-beta and 27 +/- 6 ppm for FSH-beta, and transcription rates of all 3 subunits were elevated at 1 h (3-5-fold vs. saline controls). After 4 h of GnRH pulses, alpha and FSH-beta transcription rates were reduced vs. 1 h, but LH-beta mRNA synthesis rate was maintained. At 24 h, the alpha transcription rate was still increased (66%), but LH-beta and FSH-beta transcription rates had fallen to basal levels despite the continuing pulsatile GnRH stimulus. The second experiment investigated the effect of the duration of GnRH pulses (25 ng/pulse, every 30 min for 4 h or 24 h), on cytoplasmic subunit mRNA concentrations to assess if the initial 4-h increase in transcription rate would induce a rise in cytoplasmic mRNAs. After 4 h of GnRH pulses, alpha and LH-beta mRNAs were unchanged, but FSH-beta mRNA had increased by 36% (P less than 0.05) compared to controls. All 3 subunit mRNAs were increased (approximately 2-fold) by 24 h of GnRH pulses. Administering GnRH pulses for 4 h followed by 20 h of saline pulses did not increase alpha mRNA; LH-beta was slightly increased (P less than 0.05), but FSH-beta mRNA concentrations were similar to levels seen after 24 h of continued GnRH pulses. The third experiment examined the effects of a continuous GnRH infusion and different GnRH pulse frequencies on gonadotropin subunit transcription rates. GnRH (25 ng/pulse) was given at intervals of 8, 30, or 120 min for 4 h (saline to controls). The continuous GnRH infusion (200 ng/h) did not increase the transcription rate of any of the three subunit mRNAs. alpha-subunit transcription rate was increased 2.7- or 4-fold by GnRH pulses given every 8 or 30 min, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / genetics*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone, beta Subunit
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Glycoprotein Hormones, alpha Subunit / genetics*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / genetics*
  • Male
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*


  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone, beta Subunit
  • Glycoprotein Hormones, alpha Subunit
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone