Comparison of mechanisms of action of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonist cetrorelix and LHRH agonist triptorelin on the gene expression of pituitary LHRH receptors in rats

Magdolna Kovacs, Andrew V. Schally

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35 Scopus citations


The mechanisms through which luteinizing hormone (LH)-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonists suppress pituitary gonadotroph functions and LHRH-receptor (LHRH-R) expression are incompletely understood. Consequently, we investigated the direct effect of LHRH antagonist cetrorelix in vitro on the expression of the pituitary LHRH-R gene and its ability to counteract the exogenous LHRH and the agonist triptorelin in the regulation of this gene. We also compared the effects of chronic administration of cetrorelix and triptorelin on the LHRH-R mRNA level and gonadotropin secretion in ovariectomized (OVX) and normal female rats. The exposure of pituitary cells in vitro to 3-min pulses of 1 nM LHRH or 0.1 nM triptorelin for 5 h increased the LHRH-R mRNA level by 77-88%. Continuous perfusion of the cells with 50 nM cetrorelix did not cause any significant changes, but prevented the stimulatory effect of LHRH pulses on the receptor mRNA expression. In OVX rats, 10 days after administration of a depot formulation of cetrorelix, releasing 100 μg of peptide daily, the elevated LHRH-R mRNA level was decreased by 73%, whereas daily injection of 100 μg of triptorelin caused a 41% suppression. In normal female rats, cetrorelix treatment suppressed the LHRH-R mRNA level by 33%, but triptorelin increased it by 150%. The highly elevated serum LH levels in OVX rats and the normal LH concentration of cycling rats were rapidly and completely suppressed by cetrorelix. Triptorelin decreased the serum LH in OVX rats to the precastration level, but had no effect on basal LH in normal rats. Our results confirm that LHRH antagonists, such as cetrorelix, inhibit the gene expression of pituitary LHRH-R indirectly, by counteracting the stimulatory effect of LHRH. A rapid suppression of serum LH by LHRH antagonists would be advantageous in the treatment of sex hormone-dependent tumors and other conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12197-12202
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 9 2001
Externally publishedYes


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