Effects of estradiol and calcium on gonadotrophic cells in middle-aged female rats
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The effects of multiple treatment with estradiol dipropionate (EDP) or calcium glucoheptonate (Ca) or a combination of the two on gonadotrophic cells in the pituitary pars distalis of middle-aged female rats were examined. The animals were treated daily for two weeks with EDP (0.625 mg i.p./kg body weight) or Ca (11.4 mg/kg body weight) or EDP+Ca. Luteinising (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)-producing cells were examined by immunohistochemistry using antisera to the specific (beta) beta-subunits of LH and FSH and a peroxidase-anti-peroxidase immunohistochemical procedure. Plasma levels of FSH and LH were measured by radio-immune assay. A stereological method for determining morphometric parameters in immunopositive FSH and LH cells was used. The number of gonadotrophs per unit area (mm(2)), their cellular volume and relative volume densities, as well as plasma levels of FSH and LH, were decreased in all treated females in comparison with the controls. The most significant decrease of these parameters was observed in EDP-treated animals. Such changes were also expressed in Ca-treated animals, but the alterations were less distinct. These results demonstrate that multiple EDP or Ca application to middle-aged female rats is able to inhibit, directly or indirectly, the morphofunctional state of gonadotrophic cells in the pituitary pars distalis.