Summary. This review article summarizes the evidence provided by in-vivo and in-vitro studies suggesting that the human ovary produces a nonsteroidal factor distinct from inhibin which participates in the control of gonadotrophin secretion from the pituitary.
This factor has been called gonadotrophin surge-attenuating factor (GnSAF) and is defined as attenuating the endogenous surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) in super-ovulated women by reducing the pituitary response to LH-releasing hormone. In-vivo bioactivity of GnSAF has been detected during the follicular phase of superovulated cycles; in-vitro studies have shown activity of this factor in human follicular fluid. From a physiological point of view, a hypothesis is proposed that GnSAF attenuates the amplitude of the positive effect of oestradiol on gonadotrophin secretion during the follicular phase of the human menstrual cycle and therefore plays an important role in controlling ovulation. If GnSAF is isolated, it may have several clinical applications including contraception.
Keywords: LHRH; LH; FSH; pituitary; GnSAF; man