Extra-pituitary action of gonadotropin releasing hormone: possible application
Chronic administration of a potent gonadotropin releasing hormone inhibits ovulation in women. The suppression of gonadal function during long term treatment with the GnRH analogues is ascribable to inhibition of gonadotropin secretion caused by the down regulatory action of the decapeptide at the pituitary level. Reduced progesterone production with premature onset of menstruation has been observed in women injected with the agonist during the midluteal phase. The decapeptide however, has no effect onin vitro human ovarian steroidogenesis. Specific receptors for GnRH have been located on rodent ovarian cells, but corpora lutea of rhesus monkey and human ovaries seem to lack these receptors. The luteolytic effect in women thus appears to be central in origin and not a direct effect on the corpus luteum. Recently, a superactive agonist of GnRH given around the peri-implantation period has been shown to terminate pregnancy in baboons. Monoclonal antibodies against GnRH administered during the same period in a fertile cycle also abrogated pregnancy in these animals. Using immuno-enzymatic techniques GnRH has been localized on the placenta. GnRH also exerts a stimulatory effect on hCG production by the placental villi maintained in culture. Addition of anti-luteinizing hormone releasing hormone antibodies blocks this effect completely. It seems that placenta is the only other tissue besides the pituitary where GnRH has probably a regulatory role in the human female.