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1 April 2001 Influences of Age and Ovarian Follicular Reserve on Estrous Cycle Patterns, Ovulation, and Hormone Secretion in the Long-Evans Rat
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Abstract

This study examined the influences of aging and reduced ovarian follicular reserve on estrous cyclicity, estradiol (E2) production, and gonadotropin secretion. Young virgin and middle-aged (MA) retired breeder female rats were unilaterally ovariectomized (ULO) or sham operated (control). Unilateral ovariectomy of young rats reduced the ovarian follicular reserve by one-half, to a level similar to that found in MA controls. Unilateral ovariectomy of MA females reduced the follicular pool further, to one half of MA controls. The incidence of regular cyclicity was significantly lower in MA ULO females than in young controls, with intermediate cycle frequency in young ULO and MA controls. Among cyclic rats, the magnitude of the proestrous LH surge was highest in young controls, intermediate in young ULO rats and MA controls, and lowest in MA ULO females. Similarly, ovulation rates were highest in young controls, intermediate in young ULO rats and MA controls, and lowest in MA ULO females. While young ULO rats exhibited augmented secondary FSH surges on estrous morning, middle-aged ULO females displayed secondary FSH levels comparable to young controls. The effects of age and reduced follicle number on estrous cyclicity and gonadotropin secretion were not due to altered E2 secretion, as preovulatory E2 levels were similar among all groups. Thus, experimental reduction in the follicular reserve exerts acute effects on the preovulatory LH surge, ovulation rate, and estrous cyclicity in both young and MA rats. However, decreased follicle number increases FSH levels only in young rats, indicating aging-related alterations in the feedback regulation of FSH.

Christopher R. Anzalone, Long-Sheng Hong, John K. H. Lu, and Philip S. LaPolt "Influences of Age and Ovarian Follicular Reserve on Estrous Cycle Patterns, Ovulation, and Hormone Secretion in the Long-Evans Rat," Biology of Reproduction 64(4), 1056-1062, (1 April 2001). https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod64.4.1056
Received: 14 September 2000; Accepted: 1 November 2000; Published: 1 April 2001
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