The secretion of LH, PRL, and cortisol was investigated in 4 sexually mature female rhesus macaques with cardiac catheters protected by tethers. Based on endocrine parameters, all 4 of the animals ovulated within 2 months from the time they were tethered, and regular menstrual cycles of 24- 34 days were observed. The catheters remained patent for 6-12 months without reposition or repair. Plasma levels of 2 stresslabile ormones, PRL and cortisol, showed diurnal fluctuations comparable to those observed in untethered animals. The frequency of LH secretory episodes was determined by measuring bioactive LH in blood samples collected at 10-min intervals in the follicular phase and at 15-min intervals in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. In 10 trials during the follicular phase, we estimated that an average of between 14 and 15 LH pulses occurred every 12 h. The interpulse interval ranged between 20-80 min and averaged 50 min. No change in pulse frequency was observed across the follicular phase. The number of LH pulses decreased after ovulation, and by the end of the luteal phase, the interpulse interval was 4-6 h. One example during the preovulatory LH surge revealed the high frequency, high amplitude nature of LH secretion at that time. Our experience indicates that tethered animals with cardiac catheters show no hormonal indications of stress and represent the best available model for studies requiring frequent and prolonged access to the vascular system. Our data suggest that peripheral LH fluctuations in rhesus monkeys, as in other mammals, are pulsatile, and the frequency of these pulsatile episodes changes with different phases of the menstrual cycle, presumedly in response to varying stimuli to the pituitary from the brain.
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