Objective: To determine whether prenatal androgenization of the developing primate hypothalamohypophyseal unit induces irreversible changes in LH secretion.
Design: Prospective nonrandomized study.
Setting: An academic research environment.
Animals: Forty-one adult ovulatory female rhesus monkeys.
Intervention(s): Seventeen female rhesus monkeys exposed prenatally to testosterone propionate (female pseudohermaphrodites) and 24 normal females underwent blood sampling over two ovulatory menstrual cycles.
Main outcome measure(s): Serum FSH, LH, E2, and T were determined by RIA; P was determined by enzyme immunoassay. Serum bioactive LH was measured by mouse Leydig cell bioassay.
Result(s): Tonic immunoactive LH hypersecretion and normal FSH release occurred in female pseudohermaphrodites compared with normal females. Periovulatory immunoactive LH and FSH secretion was similar in both female types, whereas a relative increase in the amount of circulating bioactive LH to immunoactive LH was found at midcycle in female pseudohermaphrodites versus normal females. The length of the follicular phase was unaffected by prenatal androgen exposure, but the slopes of serum T and E2 concentrations versus follicular phase cycle day were significantly lower in female pseudohermaphrodites than normal females. Luteal phase length and P secretion were comparable in both types of females.
Conclusion(s): Androgen exposure during primate neural differentiation may alter permanently the pattern of LH secretion in the presence of cyclic gonadotropin release.