Evidence suggests that estrogen modulates growth hormone (GH) release and that GH plays an important role in follicular and ovulatory processes. How estradiol affects GH secretion is unclear. Having verified that there is a coincident surge of GH at the time of the preovulatory LH surge, immunocytochemical studies incorporating high-temperature antigen retrieval were used to determine whether GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) neurons, somatotropes, or both, expressed estrogen receptor α (ER), in the ewe. Although GHRH neurons were surrounded by many ER cells, they did not express immunocytochemically detectable ERs. In contrast to gonadotropes, in which the majority expressed ERs, few somatotropes were estrogen receptive. These data suggest that estrogen does not act directly on GHRH neurons to influence GH secretion, and any direct effect on pituitary GH release, through the ERα, may be small.
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