To determine the role of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) in the regulation of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion in the perinatal period, a physiological approach of neutralizing circulating TRH in the fetal and early neonatal rat was employed. TRH-antiserum (TRH-AS) raised in rabbits and administered daily to low iodine-propylthiouracil (LID-PTU)-fed pregnant rats from days 12 to 19 of gestation markedly impaired the rise in serum TSH to LID-PTU when compared with normal rabbit serum-treated controls. In contrast, fetal serum TSH was unaffected by TRH-AS. The binding capacity of TRH-AS in the fetal serum (111 ng/ml) far exceeded circulating TRH in the fetus. Similarly, acute TRH-AS administration to the pregnant rat fed LID-PTU markedly decreased the serum TSH concentration in the mother, but not in the fetus, 60 min after TRH-AS administration. Chronic TRH-AS administration to neonatal rats whose nursing mothers were fed LID-PTU was in-effective in decreasing the elevated serum TSH in the neonate through day 8 of life, whereas a slight but significant decrease in serum TSH was observed on day 10. Chronic daily TRH-AS administration to neonatal rats through day 10 of life had no effect on the later development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. These findings suggest that TRH does not participate in TSH regulation during the perinatal life in the rat and that thyroid hormones are probably the main regulators of TSH secretion during this period. Placental TRH is not important in regulating TSH secretion in the fetal rat. Furthermore, TRH “deprivation” during neonatal life does not prevent normal later development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis.
Theodor Theodoropoulos, Lewis E. Braverman, Apostolos G. Vagenakis