In Vitro Studies of Prolactin Inhibition of Luteinizing Hormone Action on Leydig Cells of Rats and Mice

W. D. Odell, J. L. Larsen

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13 Scopus citations


Previous in vivo studies have shown that in male rabbits prolactin inhibits the testosterone production stimulated by luteinizing hormone (LH) or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This inhibition has now been studied in vitro using both mouse and rat testicular interstitial cells. First, the dose response of human LH (hLH) stimulation of testosterone was studied in detail using testicular interstitial cells from both species. Next, a small but stimulatory dose of hLH was selected and extensive prolactin doses were studied in vitro. NIH B-6 (bovine) prolactin in varying doses was added to the interstitial cells 30 min prior to the addition of a constant dose of hLH. Under these circumstances prolactin inhibited LH action over a wide range of doses. In both species a biphasic dose–response curve existed: large doses of 100 to 1000 ng/ml produced less inhibition or augmented LH action, compared to smaller doses. Next, entire hLH dose–response curves were produced in the presence of three doses of prolactin (0.33, 33, and 1000 ng/ml) as well as in the absence of prolactin. The addition of prolactin shifted the hLH dose-response curve to the right and depressed the maximal response in comparison to the curve without prolactin. Finally, inhibitory doses of prolactin resulted in no detectable change in LH receptor number as estimated from Scatchard plots. It is concluded that prolactin inhibits LH action on interstitial cells as determined by rate of testosterone production except at very large doses of prolactin where LH action is less inhibited or augmented. The inhibitory action of prolactin in this in vitro interstitial cell assay was not accompanied by a decrease in LH receptor number. Thus, a postreceptor action is likely to be involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-464
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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