Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Autoradiographic study of the distribution of LH(HCG) receptors in the ovary of untreated and gonadotrophin-primed immature rats


The LH(HCG) receptors in the ovaries of immature rats which were either untreated, or primed with PMSG and HCG, have been studied with a histochemical method which has proved to be as effective as when earlier used in the rat testis. This method, which consists of the topical application of 125I-HCG to picric acid-formaldehyde (PAF) fixed frozen sections followed by autoradiography, is also suitable for quantitative studies on the distribution of receptors.

In the ovary of the immature 26 days old rat, the LH(HCG) receptors are localized exclusively in the interstitial and thecal tissues.

After PMSG treatment many receptors appear in the granulosa of the large antral follicles. These receptors are most numerous in the outer layers of cells and least numerous in the inner. At the same time there are fewer receptors in the thecal and interstitial cells which have undergone the process of luteinization.

After PMSG and HCG treatment the newly formed corpora lutea have few receptors, but these become progressively more numerous on subsequent days.

It is suggested that, in the rat, the luteinization of the ovarian LH-target cells is associated with an initial decrease in the number of their LH(HCG) receptors.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Amsterdam, A., Koch, Y., Lieberman, M.E., Lindner, H.R.: Distribution of binding sites for human chorionic gonadotropin in the preovulatory follicle of the rat. J. Cell Biol. 67, 894–900 (1975)

  2. Channing, C.P., Kammerman, S.: Binding of gonadotropins to ovarian cells. Biol. Reprod. 10, 179–198 (1974)

  3. Cheng, K.W.: Changes in rat ovaries of specific binding for LH, FSH and prolactin during the oestrus cycle and pregnancy. J. Reprod. Fertil. 48, 129–135 (1976)

  4. Costoff, A., Eldridge, J.C., Mahesh, V.B.: Pituitary ultrastructure and serum gonadotropin levels in the PMS-primed immature rat. Cell Tiss. Res. 151, 79–92 (1974)

  5. Dal Lago, A., Bortolussi, M, Galli, S., Marini, G.: Effects of picric acid-formaldehyde fixation on the LH(HCG) receptors' binding activity in the rat testis. A histochemical model for qualitative and quantitative studies. Histochemistry 52, 129–143 (1977)

  6. Dal Lago, A., Rolandi, M.T., Bortolussi, M., Galli, S.: Direct binding of radioiodinated human chorionic gonadotrophin to frozen sections of rat testis. J. Reprod. Fertil. 43, 123–126 (1975)

  7. Dal Lago, A. Rolandi, M.T., Galli, S., Bortolussi, M.: A histochemical approach to the study of human chorionic gonadotrophin receptors in the rat testis. Acta endocr. (Kbh.) 81, 185–197 (1976)

  8. Döhler, K.D., Wuttke, W.: Serum LH, FSH, prolactin and progesterone from birth to puberty in female and male rats. Endocrinology 94, 1003–1008 (1974)

  9. Greenwood, F.C., Hunter, W.M., Glover, J.S.: The preparation of 131I-labelled human GH of high specific radioactivity. Biochem. J. 89, 114–123 (1963)

  10. Holt, J.A., Richards, J.S., Midgley, A.R., Jr., Reichert, L.E., Jr.: Effect of prolactin on LH receptor in rat luteal cells. Endocrinology 98, 1005–1013 (1976)

  11. Hsueh, A.J.W., Dufau, M.L., Catt, K.J.: Regulation of luteinizing hormone receptors in testicular interstitial cells by gonadotropin. Biochem. biophys. Res. Commun. 72, 1145–1152 (1976)

  12. Kammerman, S., Ross, J.: Increase in numbers of gonadotropin receptors on granulosa cells during follicle maturation. J. clin. Endocr. Metab. 41, 546–550 (1975)

  13. Lee, C.Y.: The porcine ovarian follicle: III. Development of chorionic gonadotropin receptors associated with increase in adenyl cyclase activity during follicle maturation. Endocrinology 99, 42–48 (1976)

  14. Lee, C.Y., Ryan, R.J.: The uptake of human luteinizing hormone (hLH) by slices of luteinized rat ovaries. Endocrinology 89, 1515–1523 (1971)

  15. Lee, C.Y., Ryan, R.J.: Interaction of ovarian receptors with human luteinizing hormone and human chorionic gonadotropin. Biochemistry 12, 4609–4615 (1973)

  16. Lee, C.Y., Tateishi, K., Ryan, R.J., Jiang, N.S.: Binding of human chorionic gonadotropin by rat ovarian slices: dependence of the functional state of the ovary. Proc. Soc. exp. Biol. (N.Y.) 148, 505–507 (1975)

  17. Midgley, A.R., Jr.: Gonadotropin binding to frozen sections of ovarian tissue. In: Gonadotropins (B.B. Saxena, C.B. Beling and H.M. Gandy, eds.), pp. 248–260. New York: Wiley-Interscience 1972

  18. Midgley, A.R., Jr.: Autoradiographic analysis of gonadotropin binding to rat ovarian tissue sections. In: Receptors for reproductive hormones (B.W. O'Malley and A.R. Means, eds.), pp. 365–378. New York: Plenum Press 1973

  19. Nimrod, A., Erickson, G.F., Ryan, K.J.: A specific FSH receptor in rat granulosa cells: properties of binding “in vitro”. Endocrinology 98, 56–64 (1976)

  20. Parlow, A.F.: A rapid bioassay method for LH and factors stimulating LH secretion. Fed. Proc. 17, 402 (1958)

  21. Peluso, J.J., Steger, R. W., Hafez, E.S.E.: Development of gonadotrophin-binding sites in the immature rat ovary. J. Reprod. Fertil. 47, 55–58 (1976)

  22. Pupkin, M., Bratt, H., Weisz, J., Lloyd, C.W., Balogh, K., Jr.: Dehydrogenases in the rat ovary. I. A histochemical study of Δ5-3β and 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases and enzymes of carbohydrate oxidation during the estrous cycle. Endocrinology 79, 316–327 (1966)

  23. Rennels, E.G.: Influence of hormones on the histochemistry of ovarian interstitial tissue in the immature rat. Amer. J. Anat. 88, 63–107 (1951)

  24. Richards, J.S.: Estradiol receptor content in rat granulosa cells during follicular development: modification by estradiol and gonadotropins. Endocrinology 97, 1174–1184 (1975)

  25. Richards, J.S., Midgley, A.R., Jr.: Protein hormone action: a key to understanding ovarian follicular and luteal cell development. Biol. Reprod. 14, 82–94 (1976)

  26. Rowlands, I.W., Parkes, A.S.: Hypophysectomy and the gonadotrophins. In: Marshall's physiology of reproduction (A.S. Parkes ed.), pp. 26–146. London: Longmans 1966

  27. Ryan, R.J., Lee, C.Y.: The role of membrane bound receptors. Biol. Reprod. 14, 16–29 (1976)

  28. Sharpe, R.M.: HCG-induced decrease in availability of rat testis receptors. Nature (Lond.) 264, 644–646 (1976)

  29. Sherwood, O.D., Birkhimer, M.L., Parkes, D.G.: The gonadotropin-primed rat: a model for testing agents that influence steroid biosynthesis. Endocrinology 93, 723–728 (1973)

  30. Stefanini, M., De Martino, C., Zamboni, L.: Fixation of ejaculated spermatozoa for electron microscopy. Nature (Lond.) 216, 173–174 (1967)

  31. Stewart, F., Allen, W.R., Moor, R.M.: Pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin: ratio of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone activities measured by radioreceptor assay. J. Endocr. 71, 371–382 (1976)

  32. Tata, J.R.: Hormonal regulation of hormone receptors. Nature (Lond.) 257, 740–741 (1975)

  33. Wilson, C.A., Horth, C.E., Endersby, C.A., McDonald, P.G.: Changes in plasma levels of oestradiol, progesterone and luteinizing hormone in immature rats treated with pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin. J. Endocr. 60, 293–304 (1974)

  34. Zarrow, M.X., Caldwell, A.L., Jr., Hafez, E.S.E., Pincus, G.: Superovulation in the immature rat as a possible assay for LH and HCG. Endocrinology 63, 748–758 (1958)

  35. Zeleznik, A.J., Midgley, A.R., Jr., Reichert, L.E., Jr.: Granulosa cell maturation in the rat: increased binding of human chorionic gonadotropin following treatment with follicle stimulating hormone “in vivo”. Endocrinology 95, 818–825 (1974)

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Dr. Marino Bortolussi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bortolussi, M., Marini, G. & Dal Lago, A. Autoradiographic study of the distribution of LH(HCG) receptors in the ovary of untreated and gonadotrophin-primed immature rats. Cell Tissue Res. 183, 329–342 (1977).

Download citation

Key words

  • Ovary (Rat)
  • Luteinization
  • LH(HCG) Receptors
  • Autoradiography