Circulating levels and pituitary content of FSH and LH were determined by specific radioimmunoassays in Rana esculenta starting a few days after hatching until the completion of metamorphosis. Both gonadotropins were found in the pituitary as well as in the blood plasma at all stages of development examined here. The plasma concentrations of FSH and LH were more or less uniform during pre- and prometamorphosis, but increased significantly at the onset of metamorphic climax. The plasma levels of FSH and LH remained high at the completion of metamorphosis. The pituitary content of FSH and LH was low in early premetamorphosis. It increased slightly through prometamorphosis and metamorphic climax, following which a highly significant increase occurred. Whereas plasma concentrations of FSH and LH were essentially similar within a single stage of development, the pituitary FSH content was severalfold higher than pituitary LH. The significance of these results is discussed in relation to the functional maturation of the brain-pituitary-gonadal axis in the frog.
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