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1 July 2004 The Follicle-Deplete Mouse Ovary Produces Androgen
Loretta P. Mayer, Patrick J. Devine, Cheryl A. Dyer, Patricia B. Hoyer
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The follicle-depleted postmenopausal ovary is enriched in interstitial cells that produce androgens. This study was designed to cause follicle depletion in mice using the industrial chemical, 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD), and characterize the steroidogenic capacity of cells in the residual ovarian tissue. From a dose-finding study, the optimal daily concentration of VCD was determined to be 160 mg/kg. Female B6C3F1 immature mice were treated daily with vehicle control or VCD (160 mg kg−1 day−1, 15 days, i.p.). Ovaries were removed and processed for histological evaluation. On Day 15 following onset of treatment, primordial follicles were depleted and primary follicles were reduced to about 10% of controls. On Day 46, primary follicles were depleted and secondary and antral follicles were reduced to 0.7% and 2.6% of control, respectively. Seventy-five percent of treated mice displayed disruptions in estrous cyclicity. All treated mice were in persistent diestrus (acyclic) by Day 58. Plasma FSH levels were increased (P < 0.05) relative to controls on Day 37 and had plateaued by Day 100. Relative to age-matched cyclic controls, by Day 127, the significant differences in VCD-treated mice included reduced ovarian and uterine weights, elevated plasma LH and FSH, and reduced plasma progesterone and androstenedione. Furthermore, plasma 17β-estradiol levels were nondetectable. Unlike controls, immunostaining for LH receptor, and the high density lipoprotein receptor (SR-BI), was diffuse in ovarian sections from VCD-treated animals. Ovaries from Day 120 control and VCD-treated animals were dissociated and dispersed cells were placed in culture. Cultured cells from ovaries of VCD-treated animals produced less LH-stimulated progesterone than control cells. Androstenedione production was nondetectable in cells from cyclic control animals. Conversely, cells from VCD-treated animals produced androstenedione that was doubled in the presence of insulin and LH (1 and 3 ng/ml). Collectively, these data demonstrate that VCD-mediated follicle depletion results in residual ovarian tissue that may be analogous to the follicle-deplete postmenopausal ovary. This may serve as a useful animal model to examine the dynamics of follicle loss in women as ovarian senescence ensues.

Loretta P. Mayer, Patrick J. Devine, Cheryl A. Dyer, and Patricia B. Hoyer "The Follicle-Deplete Mouse Ovary Produces Androgen," Biology of Reproduction 71(1), 130-138, (1 July 2004).
Received: 13 February 2003; Accepted: 1 February 2004; Published: 1 July 2004

interstitial cells
steroid hormones
theca cells
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