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Biol Reprod. 1992 Aug;47(2):149-61.

Follicle-stimulating hormone plays a role in the induction of ovarian follicular cysts in hypophysectomized rats.

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  • 1University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Columbia 29208.


Unabated stimulation by low doses of LH-like activity produces ovarian follicular cysts in both progesterone-synchronized immature rats and pregnant rats. Serum FSH is maintained in both of these models at values similar to those observed on diestrus. To determine whether unabated stimulation by basal serum FSH affects the ability of LH-like activity to induce cystic ovaries, immature hypophysectomized (HYPOXD) rats were given either no hormone (control); 2 micrograms ovine FSH (oFSH) once daily for 14 days beginning on Day 27; 0.5 IU hCG twice daily for 13 days beginning on Day 28 of age; or both oFSH and hCG (FSH + hCG) beginning on Day 27 and Day 28, respectively. By the end of the in vivo treatments (Day 40 of age), the largest follicles in the ovaries of control and hCG-treated HYPOXD rats were at the preantral stage of development, whereas the largest follicles present in ovaries from FSH-treated animals were atretic and at the small antral stage of development. In contrast, ovaries from rats treated with FSH + hCG displayed large follicular cysts by Day 37 of age. Of the serum steroids analyzed, only estradiol and androstenedione concentrations for animals treated with FSH + hCG were consistently elevated above values observed for control HYPOXD rats. Serum testosterone and dihydrotestosterone values were similar for hCG-treated and control HYPOXD rats throughout the in vivo treatments. In contrast, these steroids were elevated between Days 3 and 5 of FSH treatment (+/- hCG treatment). Serum progesterone and estrone values for all in vivo gonadotropin treatment groups were similar to those of controls. Serum insulin concentrations were not affected by any in vivo treatment. Incubates of follicles/cysts from FSH + hCG-treated HYPOXD rats contained more progesterone, androstenedione, and estradiol than incubates of follicles from any other in vivo treatment group. Follicles from all in vivo treatment groups responded to 8-bromo cAMP (cAMP) with increased in vitro progesterone accumulation. However, only follicles from FSH-treated and FSH + hCG-treated rats responded to cAMP with increased androstenedione and estradiol accumulation in vitro. Inclusion of 400 ng of either androstenedione or testosterone in the incubation medium enhanced progesterone accumulation in follicular incubates from control, hCG-treated, and FSH-treated HYPOXD rats, but did not enhance progesterone accumulation in follicular incubates from FSH + hCG-treated animals. Both androstenedione and estradiol production increased markedly under these conditions for follicles from all in vivo treatment groups.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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