In the developing male rat around 40 days of age, the testis appears to contain the maximum amount of lutropin receptors per unit weight. During this period, circulating levels of testosterone markedly increase without the concomitant major surges in lutropin levels. The increased sensitivity and responsiveness of tests to basal levels of circulating lutropin during this period is accompanied by enhanced serum prolactin levels suggesting that this hormone may be involved in this process. The finding that prolactin treatment of pubertal rats for 3 days induced the formation of more testicular lutropin receptors supports the above premise. However, shortterm immunoneutralisation of endogenous prolactin did not significantly alter the specific binding of [ 125 I ]-labelled lutropin to testicular membranes. Interestingly, during development, a close correction exists between receptor occupancy and capacity of the tissue to bind labelled lutropin. The apparent dissociation between serum lutropin levels, on the one hand and tissue occupancy and free receptor contents on the other, suggests that factors other than lutropin (presumably prolactin) are involved in the modulation of the sensitivity and the responsiveness of the testis to lutropin during early development.
Volume 44 | Issue 3
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