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J Cell Physiol. 2004 Jan;198(1):119-24.

Gonadotropin and steroid hormones stimulate proliferation of the rat ovarian surface epithelium.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


The ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) is a single layer of flattened or cuboidal cells covering the ovary. Ninety percent of all human ovarian malignancies arise from this layer of cells. Incessant ovulation, hyperovulation induced by infertility treatment, and hormone replacement therapy have been suggested as risk factors for ovarian cancer. In this study, two groups of rats, with and without surgically induced injury to the ovary, were treated with 17beta-estradiol, pregnant mare's serum gonadotropin (PMSG), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), or the combination PMSG/hCG, and the proliferative response of the OSE cells was measured using bromodeoxyuridne (BrdU) and (3)H-thymidine. All hormones, alone or in combination with ovarian surgery, were found to increase significantly the rate of proliferation of the rat OSE. These data demonstrate that hormones associated with infertility treatments and hormone replacement therapy, as well as injury- or ovulation-induced rupture of the ovarian surface, stimulate the rat OSE, and hence could have a role in the development of ovarian cancer via proliferation-associated mutagenesis, or alternatively, by promoting the rapid selection of OSE cells with accumulated mutations.

Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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