High doses of atrazine (ATR), administered for 4 days, suppress luteinizing hormone (LH) release and increase adrenal hormones levels. Considering the known inhibitory effects of adrenal hormones on the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, we investigated the possible role the adrenal gland has in mediating ATR inhibition of LH release. To determine the extant and duration of adrenal activation, ovariectomized Wistar rats were given a single dose of ATR (0, 50, or 200 mg/kg), and corticosterone (CORT) levels were assayed at multiple time points posttreatment. CORT levels were increased within 20 min and remained elevated over 12 h postgavage in 200-mg/kg animals. To determine the effects of adrenalectomy on ATR inhibition of the LH surge and pulsatile LH release, adrenalectomized (ADX) or sham-operated ovariectomized rats were treated for 4 days with ATR (0, 10, 100, or 200 mg/kg), and an LH surge was induced with hormone priming. In the afternoon following the last dose of ATR, blood was sampled hourly for 9 h. Another cohort of ovariectomized rats was examined for pulsatile patterns of LH secretion after ATR (0, 50, or 200 mg/kg) and sampled every 5 min for 3 h. ADX had no effect on ATR inhibition of the LH surge but prevented the ATR disruption of pulsatile LH release. These data indicate that ATR selectively affects the LH pulse generator through alterations in adrenal hormone secretion. Adrenal activation does not play a role in ATR's suppression of the LH surge, and therefore ATR may work centrally to alter the preovulatory LH surge in female rats.
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Vol. 85 • No. 4