Immunization of rams against human recombinant inhibin alpha-subunit delays, augments, and extends season-related increase in blood gonadotropin levels

Biol Reprod. 1990 Jan;42(1):81-6. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod42.1.81.


Adult Suffolk rams were immunized four times against the human recombinant inhibin alpha-subunit over a period of 80 days. Blood samples were collected at weekly intervals and serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone were determined by radioimmunoassay procedures. The results show that season-related elevations of gonadotropin levels in immunized rams was delayed by 1-2 wk and, in these animals, it was more pronounced and extended than in vehicle-treated controls. Peaks of circulating testosterone were higher in control rams than in immunized animals. The capacity of the antisera to bind 125I-labeled inhibin alpha-subunit increased significantly in each immunized animal within 30 days of treatment, even though neutralizing antibodies were detected with a rat pituitary cell culture bioassay in only one of the four immunized rams. Epididymal sperm reserves tended to be greater in immunized than in control animals. These results show that inhibin controls the release of FSH during the breeding season, thereby regulating spermatogenic activity; it may also exert its effect on testicular function by a local effect on Leydig cells, as evidenced by changes in serum testosterone profiles and increased serum LH levels in rams immunized against the inhibin alpha-subunit.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood*
  • Inhibins / immunology
  • Inhibins / pharmacology
  • Inhibins / physiology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood*
  • Male
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins / physiology
  • Sheep / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Testosterone
  • Inhibins
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone