Biology of Reproduction vol:47 issue:6 pages:977-83
High concentrations of immunoreactive inhibin were detected in the plasma of the laying domestic hen using a heterologous RIA validated for use in the chicken. Cessation of egg production induced by restricting the intake of nutrients decreased circulating inhibin to approximately 20% of its original concentration within 8 days, indicating that the ovary is the major source of the measured material. Dissection of ovarian follicles revealed that inhibin is nearly exclusively produced in the granulosa cell layer. When expressed per milligram cell protein the concentration of inhibin decreased significantly in granulosa layers of follicles of succeeding order in the hierarchy (F4 to F1). The concentration of progesterone increased in the granulosa layers of the same follicles whereas oestradiol in the surrounding theca layers decreased. In vitro culture of granulosa cells derived from follicles at different stages of development confirmed the decrease in inhibin secretion as a function of follicular growth observed in vivo. The granulosa cell inhibin secretion is stimulated by LH as well as by FSH, the former being the most effective one. The physiological significance of these changes in inhibin concentration during follicular maturation requires further investigation. It may be concluded, however, that the chicken presents a useful model for the study of the endocrine as well as the paracrine function of ovarian inhibin.