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Endocrinology. 2018 Feb 1;159(2):1242-1252. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-03078.

Female Offspring From Chronic Hyperandrogenemic Dams Exhibit Delayed Puberty and Impaired Ovarian Reserve.

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Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Department of Gynecology/Obstetrics, Shuguang Hospital affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.


Female offspring of many species exposed to high doses of androgens in utero experience endocrine dysfunction during adulthood. The phenotype of offspring from females with prepregnancy hyperandrogenemia and impaired ovulation, however, has not been examined. We developed a mouse model of hyperandrogenemia by implanting a low-dose dihydrotestosterone (DHT) pellet 15 days before conception. Female offspring born to dams with hyperandrogenemia (DHT daughters) had delayed puberty (P < 0.05) with first estrus on postnatal day (PND) 41 compared with daughters from dams with physiological levels of DHT (non-DHT daughters, PND37.5). Serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels in the DHT daughters were fourfold higher (P < 0.05) on PND21, and anti-Müllerian hormone levels were higher (P < 0.05) on PND26 than in non-DHT daughters (controls). DHT daughters showed an extended time in metestrus/diestrus and a shorter time in the proestrus/estrus phase compared with non-DHT daughters (P < 0.05). To examine ovarian response to gonadotropins, superovulation was induced and in vitro fertilization (IVF) was performed. Fewer numbers of oocytes were retrieved from the DHT daughters compared with non-DHT daughters (P < 0.05). At IVF, there was no difference in rates of fertilization or cleavage of oocytes from either group. There were fewer (P < 0.01) primordial follicles (6.5 ± 0.8 vs 14.5 ± 2.1 per ovary) in the ovaries of DHT daughters compared with non-DHT daughters. Daughters from hyperandrogenemic females exhibited elevated prepubertal FSH levels, diminished ovarian response to superovulation, impaired estrous cyclicity, delayed onset of puberty, and reduced ovarian reserve, suggesting that fetal androgen exposure had lasting effects on female reproductive function.

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