The ability of different LH-like hormones, such as hCG, PMSG/equine (e) CG, ovine (o) LH, eLH, and rat (r) LH, to bind to and stimulate steroidogenesis in two types of rat gonadal cells was studied under the same experimental conditions. In both Leydig and granulosa cells, the maximal steroidogenic responses elicited by optimal doses of different LHs present during a 2-h incubation were comparable. However, if the cells were exposed to the different LHs for a brief period and then subjected to interference with hormone action by removing the unbound hormone from the medium by washing or adding specific antisera, differences were observed in the amount of steroid produced during subsequent incubation in hormone-free medium. Thus, in the case of hCG, either of these procedures carried out at 15 or 30 min of incubation had little inhibitory effect on the amount of steroid produced at 2 h, the latter being similar to that produced by cells incubated in the continued presence of hCG for 2 h. With eCG and rLH, the effect was dramatic, in that there was a total inhibition of subsequent steroidogenic response. In cells exposed to eLH and oLH, inhibition of subsequent steroidogenesis due to either removal of the free-hormone or addition of specific antisera at 15 or 30 min was only partial. Although all of the antisera used were equally effective in inhibiting the steroidogenic response to respective gonadotropins when added along with hormones at the beginning of incubation, differences were observed in the degree of inhibition of this response when the same antisera were added at later times of incubation. Thus, when antisera were added 60 min after the hormone, the inhibition of steroidogenesis was total (100%) for eCG, partial (10-40%) for eLH and oLH, and totally lacking in cells treated with hCG. From this, it appears that hCG bound to the receptor probably becomes unavailable for binding to its antibody with time, while in the case of eCG and other LHs used, the antibody can still inhibit the biological activity of the hormone. Studies with 125I-labeled hormones further supported the conclusion that hCG differs from all other LHs in being most tightly bound and, hence, least dissociable, while eCG and rLH dissociate most readily; oLH and eLH can be placed in between these hormones in the extent of their dissociability.
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