The effects of N-methyl-D,L-aspartic acid and aspartic acid on the plasma concentration of gonadotrophins, GH and prolactin in the ewe

J. A. Downing, J. Joss, R. J. Scaramuzzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aspartic acid is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that acts via the glutamate receptor and the analogue, N-methyl-D,L-aspartic acid (NMA) is an agonist that stimulates GnRH secretion. Under normal dietary conditions, the plasma concentration of aspartic acid in ewes is low and if increased by improved nutrition may increase the brain concentration of aspartic acid leading to increased gonadotrophin secretion. In two experiments we investigated the effects of NMA on pituitary hormone concentrations and the effects of aspartic acid on ovulation rate and pituitary hormone concentrations. The intravenous injection of NMA into cycling ewes resulted in an immediate (within 15 min) release of a pulse of LH and of GH and a prolonged (up to 1 h) suppression of prolactin secretion. There were marked differences in responsiveness to NMA between individual ewes. The intravenous infusion of aspartic acid for 5 days in the late luteal phase of the oestrous cycle did not affect ovulation rate but reduced the mean LH (P < 0.05) and FSH (P < 0.05) concentrations in plasma. The frequency of LH pulses also tended to be lower (P < 0.1) in ewes infused with aspartic acid. It is suggested that the decrease in gonadotrophin secretion in ewes infused with aspartic acid is due to effects on the hypothalamus or the anterior pituitary gland which are not related to increased levels of ovarian feedback. These changes are likely to involve decreased GnRH secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Volume149
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1996

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