Beta-endorphin regulation of LHRH release at the median eminence level: immunocytochemical and physiological evidence in hens

Neuroendocrinology. 1993;57(2):365-73. doi: 10.1159/000126381.


We studied the effect that beta-endorphin (beta END) might have at the median eminence (ME) on luteinizing hormone (LH)-releasing hormone (LHRH) during the ovulatory cycle of domestic hens. Thus, we assessed (a) the immunocytochemical distribution of beta END and LHRH in the hen ME, (b) the temporal changes in ME and preoptic area (POA) LHRH and beta END content, in both a spontaneous and a premature C2 ovulatory model. The premature C2 ovulation occurs 6-7 h after the administration of progesterone (P4) injected 14 h before the spontaneous second (C2) ovulation of a sequence and therefore 7-8 h earlier than expected, (c) the ME in vitro release of beta END in both models, and (d) the effect of beta END and naloxone on in vitro ME-LHRH release in the two models. In the hen, beta END cell bodies are located in the periarcuate area with axons projecting to both the ME and the POA. LHRH perikarya are located in the medial POA and anterior hypothalamus and project to the ME and infundibulum through the ventrolateral hypothalamus. In the spontaneous C2 ovulatory model, both beta END and LHRH content in the ME remained unchanged during the 14 h preceding the C2 ovulation. However, POA-LHRH content was increasing at the time of the LH surge (4 h before the expected C2 ovulation) and remained elevated until the C2 ovulation occurred. In contrast, POA-beta END content was lowest at the time of the LH surge and remained low until the C2 ovulation occurred.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analysis
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism
  • Median Eminence / chemistry
  • Median Eminence / drug effects
  • Median Eminence / physiology*
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Ovulation / physiology
  • Preoptic Area / metabolism
  • Progesterone / administration & dosage
  • Progesterone / pharmacology
  • Tissue Distribution
  • beta-Endorphin / analysis
  • beta-Endorphin / pharmacology
  • beta-Endorphin / physiology*


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Naloxone
  • Progesterone
  • beta-Endorphin
  • Luteinizing Hormone