Effects of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and estradiol on gonadotropin release after gonadotropin releasing hormone administration in cyclic mares

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Sixteen intact cyclic mares were treated on the fourth day of estrus and then every other day for a total of six injections with 1) testosterone propionate, 2) dihydrotestosterone (DHT) benzoate, 3) estradiol (E2) benzoate or 4) safflower oil. Mares were given gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) on Day 3 of estrus (pretreatment) and again 24 h after the last steroid or oil injection. Treatment with testosterone propionate resulted in a greater (P<0.05) follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) response to the second injection of GnRH compared with all other treatments. Treatment with DHT benzoate also resulted in greater (P<0.05) FSH response to GnRH compared with control and E2 benzoate-treated mares. Testosterone propionate and E2 benzoate administration suppressed (P<0.05) the normal diestrous rise in FSH concentrations exhibited by the control and DHT benzoate-treated mares. Steroid treatment did not affect the luteinizing hormone (LH) response to GnRH, although testosterone propionate treatment did suppress concentrations of LH in daily blood samples during Day 3 to 6 of treatment. It is concluded that testosterone's effect on FSH after GnRH treatment observed in this and previous experiments can be attributed to two different properties of the hormone or its metabolites acting simultaneously. That is, testosterone increased the secretion of FSH in response to GRH as did DHT (an androgenic effect). At the same time, testosterone suppressed FSH concentrations in daily blood samples in a manner identical to that of E2 benzoate (an estrogenic effect).

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Biology of Reproduction

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