Evidence that hyperprolactinaemia is associated with ovarian acyclicity in female zoo African elephants.
The present study was designed to determine the effects of PRL on changes in morphology and plasminogen activator (PA) activity in the preovulatory follicles. Rabbit ovaries were perfused with hCG alone or with hCG plus at 10, 10(2), or 10(3) ng/ml. PRL at 10(3) ng/ml directly inhibited the degeneration and decomposition of surface epithelial cells induced by hCG exposure. The subsurface connective tissue was visualized by treatment with sodium dodecyl sulfate, which removed surface epithelial cells from the ovary, thereby exposing collagen fibrils and the basal lamina. Sodium dodecyl sulfate treatment revealed inhibition of connective tissue disruption at the apex of the follicle wall in PRL-treated ovaries. PA activity in mature follicles in perfused rabbit ovaries exposed to hCG increased from 1.40 +/- 0.08 to 28.4 +/- 4.25 IU/g tissue after 4 h of perfusion. The addition of PRL to the perfusate inhibited the hCG-stimulated increase in intrafollicular PA activity in a dose-dependent fashion. Although at 7 h mature follicles treated by hCG alone showed greater intrafollicular PA activity than those treated with hCG plus PRL, this difference was not significant. These results suggest that PRL may act directly by interfering with mechanical events within the ovary that are required for the rupture of mature Graafian follicles, probably via the inhibition of intrafollicular tissue PA activity.