GH influences female fertility. The goal of the present study was to obtain more insight into the effect of loss of GH signalling, as observed in humans suffering from Laron syndrome, on ovarian function. Therefore, serial paraffin sections of ovaries of untreated and IGF-I-treated female GH receptor knock-out (GHR/GHBP-KO) mice were examined to determine the follicular reserve and the percentage of follicular atresia in each ovary. Our observations demonstrate that the amount of primordial follicles was significantly elevated in GHR/GHBP-KO mice, while the numbers of primary, preantral and antral follicles were lower compared with wild-type values. The reduced number of healthy growing follicles in GHR/GHBP-KO mice was accompanied by a significant increase in the percentage of atretic follicles. IGF-I treatment of GHR/GHBP-KO mice for 14 days resulted in a reduced number of primordial follicles, an increased number of healthy antral follicles, and a decreased percentage of atretic follicles. The results of the present study suggest that GH may play a role, either directly or indirectly, via for instance IGF-I, in the recruitment of primordial follicles into the growing pool. Furthermore, GH seems to protect antral follicles, directly or indirectly from undergoing atresia.
- recombinant bovine somatotropin
- female reproductive function
- premature ovarian failure
- hormone receptor
- rat ovary
- insulin-like-growth-factor-1 igf-1
- preantral follicles