The effects on luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion of various regimens of pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) replacement were examined in ovariectomized (OVX) ewes after hypothalamo-pituitary disconnection (HPD). Hourly pulses of 500 ng GnRH restored gonadotropin secretion in OVX-HPD sheep. Replacement beginning 2 days after HPD gave consistent responses of LH and FSH within a week. Replacement beginning 61–96 days after HPD caused more gradual re-establishment of LH and FSH secretion with LH responses appearing immediately and FSH responses appearing 2 weeks later. When hourly GnRH pulses were increased in amplitudes from 250 to 500 ng the plasma LH baseline, peak values and pulse amplitudes were increased. There was no significant change in plasma FSH levels over 10 pulses at the higher dose. Decreases in GnRH pulse frequency led to increases in LH pulse amplitude and decreases in plasma LH baseline. In contrast, immediately after a change from a 2-hourly to an hourly mode, an increase in LH baseline occurred without an immediate reduction in LH pulse amplitude. Mean plasma FSH concentrations increased when the frequency was reduced from hourly to 2-hourly or 4-hourly. However, a change from 4-hourly to hourly pulses did not reduce FSH values within 7 days. It is concluded that changes in the pattern of LH secretion observed during the ovine estrous cycle could be accounted for, in part, by changes in GnRH pulse frequency.

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