Catecholamines and ascorbic acid as stimulators of bovine ovarian oxytocin secretion

J Endocrinol. 1987 Sep;114(3):423-30. doi: 10.1677/joe.0.1140423.


The effects of catecholamines and ascorbic acid on cultured bovine granulosa cells have been examined to assess their possible role in the initiation and maintenance of luteal oxytocin secretion. The actions of these agents have also been compared with the previously reported ability of follicular theca tissue to enhance oxytocin secretion. Using granulosa cells cultured in serum-supplemented medium, we observed a highly significant enhancement of oxytocin secretion in the presence of adrenaline and noradrenaline, particularly over the concentration range 1-10 mumol/l. This effect was accompanied by smaller and less consistent changes in progesterone secretion and did not involve any change in the time-course of oxytocin secretion. Acetylcholine was without effect. Ascorbic acid stimulated oxytocin secretion when used alone over a range of concentrations, but was also able to synergize with adrenaline. Lactic acid was ineffective. The stimulation of oxytocin secretion by adrenaline could be blocked by equimolar propranolol, but the stimulation of progesterone was not blocked. Propranolol had a variable effect on the ability of theca tissue to stimulate oxytocin secretion by granulosa cells but the results also suggested the presence of some beta-agonistic activity in the culture medium. We conclude, first, that catecholamines may be involved in the regulation of ovarian oxytocin secretion, secondly, that ascorbate may regulate oxytocin secretion through its involvement in the biosynthesis of oxytocin but also through interaction with catecholamines and, thirdly, that the stimulatory action of theca tissue probably does not involve the action of beta-agonists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cells / drug effects
  • Granulosa Cells / physiology
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Ovary / drug effects*
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Progesterone / metabolism


  • Progesterone
  • Oxytocin
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine