Luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone during testicular descent in the pig fetus
To investigate the relationship between gonadotrophins, androgens and testicular descent in the pig fetus, serum concentrations of Iuteinizing hormone (LH) and folIide-stimulating hormone (FSH), and serum concentrations and testicular content of testosterone (T) and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) were determined by radioimmunoassay in 95 fetuses (48 males, 47 females) between Day 60 and Day 90 post coitum (p.c.). The testes were descended in 0% of fetuses at Day 60, 8% of fetuses at Day 70, 40% of fetuses at Day 80 and 87% of fetuses at Day 90 p.c. There was a significant increase in mean serum concentrations of LH in both male and female fetuses from Day 60 to Day 90, with a significant difference in mean serum concentrations of LH between male fetuses with a body mass <350 g (4% of testes descended) and those with a body mass >450 g (87% of testes, descended), but not between male and female fetuses <350 g or >450 g in body mass. There was no significant difference in mean serum concentrations of FSH between male and female fetuses. Mean serum concentrations of T were significantly higher in male fetuses at Day 60 than in those at Days 70-90, with no significant difference in serum concentrations of DHT from Day 60 to Day 90 p.c. Testicular content of T and DHT showed a non-linear increase from Day 60 to Day 90 p.c. Although the serum concentration of T is elevated before, and decreased during, the period of descent, the testicular content of T and DHT increases during the period of descent, indicating that serum concentrations of LH and FSH may have an indirect effect on descent by stimulating testicular androgen synthesis.