Hypothalamic effects of progesterone on regulation of the pulsatile and surge release of luteinising hormone in female rats

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 14;7(1):8096. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08805-1.


Progesterone can block the oestradiol-induced GnRH/LH surge and inhibit LH pulse frequency. Recent studies reported that progesterone prevented premature LH surges during ovarian hyperstimulation in women. As the most potent stimulator of GnRH/LH release, kisspeptin is believed to mediate the positive and negative feedback effects of oestradiol in the hypothalamic anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) and arcuate (ARC) nuclei, while the region-specific role of progesterone receptors in these nuclei remains unknown. This study examined the hypothesis that progesterone inhibits LH surge and pulsatile secretion via its receptor in the ARC and/or AVPV nuclei. Adult female rats received a single injection of pregnant mare serum gonadotropin followed by progesterone or vehicle. Progesterone administration resulted in a significant prolongation of the oestrous cycle and blockade of LH surge. However, microinjection of the progesterone receptor antagonist, RU486, into the AVPV reversed the prolonged cycle length and rescued the progesterone blockade LH surge, while RU486 into the ARC shortened LH pulse interval in the progesterone treated rats. These results demonstrated that progesterone's inhibitory effect on the GnRH/LH surge and pulsatile secretion is mediated by its receptor in the kisspeptin enriched hypothalamic AVPV and ARC respectively, which are essential for progesterone regulation of oestrous cyclicity in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / drug effects
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estrous Cycle / drug effects
  • Estrous Cycle / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / metabolism
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Mifepristone / pharmacology
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism


  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Mifepristone
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone