Effect of vitamin A deficiency upon gonadotropin response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone

Biol Reprod. 1985 Dec;33(5):1176-87. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod33.5.1176.


There is a monotypic change in basal serum gonadotropin levels following retinol treatment of chronically vitamin A-deficient (VAD) male rats. The present study was undertaken to investigate the hypothesis that the specific increase in serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) represents a change in gonadotrope responsiveness to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). To this end, a test dose of GnRH was given to VAD rats pre-, 5 days post-, and 10 days postreplacement of vitamin A (PVA). In VAD rats, basal serum FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were higher than those of controls. Increased LH/testosterone ratios, both in basal levels and in the secretory response to GnRH, suggested Leydig cell hyporesponsiveness in VAD animals. Both the FSH and LH responses to GnRH were maximal at 1 h, declining thereafter. Although the absolute increments in FSH and LH 1 h after GnRH in VAD rats were greater than in controls, the percent increase in FSH tended to be lower in VAD rats and to increase after vitamin A replacement. The specific enhancement of FSH release PVA became evident only when assessing total secretion of FSH and LH after GnRH. Luteinizing hormone response to GnRH increased PVA, but not significantly, while FSH secretion after GnRH increased both 5 and 10 days PVA, times during which basal FSH levels were also increasing. These changes in FSH secretion could not be attributed either to increases in endogenous GnRH or to changes in testosterone or estradiol levels. Basal serum androgen binding protein levels, elevated in VAD animals, did not respond to the acute increases in FSH after GnRH and remained high PVA, suggesting no acute change in Sertoli cell function. Thus, the PVA increase in FSH secretion unmasks a partial inhibition of the gonadotrope present in the retinol-deficient, retinoic acid-fed male rat.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Androgen-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Leydig Cells / drug effects
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Sertoli Cells / drug effects
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Androgen-Binding Protein
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone