Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 368–373 | Cite as

The hypothalamic-pituitary-luteal axis in women: Effects of long-term orally active opioid antagonist (naltrexone) administration

  • A. M. Fulghesu
  • A. Lanzone
  • R. Apa
  • M. Guido
  • M. Ciampelli
  • F. Cucinelli
  • A. Caruso
  • Salvatore Mancuso


Aim of our study is to assess the effect of a long-term oral opiate antagonist treatment during the luteal phase on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Fourteen normovulatory women partecipated to the study. Immediately after the ovulation, the patients were randomly divided in two groups: in the first one women received naltrexone 50 mg/die orally (Antaxone Zambon Italy) from day 1 of the luteal phase for 7 days. In the second patients were treated with placebo for the same period and served as control group. On day 7, patients were hospitalized for a pulse pattern study followed by a GnRH test. LH, FSH, Estradiol, Progesterone were assayed. The naltrexone administration strongly increased the number as well as the amplitude of the gonadotropin pulses. The circulating P levels were also significantly higher in treated patients. The GnRH injection significantly increases the gonadotropin secretion in all patients. The stimulated LH and FSH secretion was significantly greater in treated patients when compared to controls. Such discharge of LH determined a significant increase of progesterone production in controls, but failed to stimulate the corpus luteum in treated patients. In conclusion the present paper strengtheen an important role of the opioidergic system in the regulation of GnRH pulsatility in luteal phase. Moreover, our findings confirms the sensibility of the corpus luteum to LH and the possibility to stimulate the P secretion during the luteal phase.


LH pulsatility luteal phase naltrexone progesterone secretion 


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Fulghesu
    • 1
  • A. Lanzone
    • 2
  • R. Apa
    • 1
  • M. Guido
    • 1
  • M. Ciampelli
    • 1
  • F. Cucinelli
    • 1
  • A. Caruso
    • 1
  • Salvatore Mancuso
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreRomaItaly
  2. 2.Oasi Institute of ResearchTroinaItaly

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