Ovariectomized cynomolgus monkeys were treated with physiological levels of estradiol and progesterone. A reduction in serum levels of FSH was observed after steroid exposure. Anterior pituitary homogenates were prepared from monkeys after 0, 12, 24, or 36 h of exposure to estradiol and progesterone and quantitated for FSH activity by radioreceptor assay (RRA) and RIA. Pituitary FSH activity (expressed as RRA/RIA) increased with duration of exposure to steroids. Forms of FSH within these pituitaries were separated by the column isoelectric focusing technique, chromatofocusing. All pituitary homogenates tested contained FSH isohormones that eluted at similar isoelectric points. Each FSH isohormone exhibited a mol wt similar to that of a purified FSH standard, but differed in ability to displace labeled FSH from a biological receptor preparation. FSH forms with basic isoelectric points exhibited greater RRA/RIA values than forms with more acidic isoelectric points. The relative proportion of the more basic FSH forms increased within pituitary tissue with duration of exposure to steroids. All FSH forms were secreted by pituitary cells in culture. The biochemical basis for the microheterogeneity appears to be the degree of sialic acid incorporation into the FSH molecule. The results of these studies demonstrate that the cynomolgus monkey pituitary responds to the surrounding hormonal milieu by altering the relative proportions of FSH forms present within that gland.
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