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Endocrinology. 2006 Jan;147(1):483-92. Epub 2005 Sep 29.

Developing a model of nutritional amenorrhea in rhesus monkeys.

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Departments of Physiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.


Nutritional amenorrhea is defined as cessation of menstrual cycles resulting from a chronic negative energy balance. Although it is agreed that nutritional amenorrhea results from reduced secretion of GnRH, the neuroendocrine mechanisms leading to GnRH inhibition are poorly defined. Because the invasiveness of many neuroendocrine experimental approaches precludes its use in the clinical setting, we set out to establish a model of nutritional amenorrhea in rhesus monkeys. Studies were conducted in four normal-weight and one obese female rhesus monkey. Dietary intake was gradually reduced with the goal of achieving a 15-20% weight reduction. Dietary restriction inhibited ovulation in all animals. The weight loss required to inhibit ovulation ranged from 2-11% in the four normal-weight animals and was achieved with a 23% reduction in dietary intake. The time of initiating reduced food intake to first missed ovulation was 62 +/- 13 d. Greater weight loss (46% reduction) over a longer period (10 months) was required to inhibit ovulation in the obese monkey. The onset of anovulation was not preceded by changes in menstrual cycle length or progesterone secretion. Realimentation initiated ovulation at a weight that approximated the animal's weight at the time of the last ovulatory cycle during dietary restriction. By contrast, caloric intake at the return of ovulation during realimentation was 28% greater. This is the first demonstration that chronic dietary restriction can inhibit ovulation in rhesus monkeys. This model will be useful for studying the neuroendocrine mechanisms involved in diet-induced anovulation in primates.

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