U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Journal of Andrology (U.S. Meat Animal Research Centerh-April 1987) 8(2): 97–102


Active immunization of Ile-de-France rams against estradiol (E2) resulted in the production of E2-neutralizing antibodies and an elevation in the plasma concentrations of FSH, LH, and testosterone. The presence of E2 antibodies did not affect the testosterone metabolic clearance rate, indicating that the immunization-mediated 10-fold increase in plasma testosterone was the result of a 10-fold increase in testicular testosterone production. Testis weights, as well as nuclear and cytoplasmic volumes of individual peritubular and perivascular Leydig cells, were greater in E2-immunized rams than in albuminimmunized controls. Leydig cell numbers were not affected by treatment. The E2 antibodies were capable not only of neutralizing the inhibitory effects of endogenous E2 on gonadotropin levels in intact rams, but were able to block the effects of exogenously administered E2 on their FSH and Lii secretory response to castration. It is concluded that circulating E2 in the ram is involved in pituitary-testicular endocrine homeostasis and that E2 immunoneutralization can be employed to enhance testosterone secretion in this species.