Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Follicular stimulation protocols using pregnant mares' serum gonadotropin (PMSG) or a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) preparation were compared to evaluate the yield and quality of embryos obtained from immature rats. Rats received a superovulatory dose of PMSG (401U), a nonsuperovulatory dose of the same gonadotrophin (4 IU), or a continu ous s.c. infusion over a 72-h period with a purified FSH preparation containing an opti mum ratio of luteinizing hormone (LH): FSH (FSH-hCG). The females were caged with fertile males on the evening of the 3rd day of gonadotropin treatment and scored for the occurrence of mating on the next morning; subgroups were killed on days 1-4 of preg-nancy. High fertilization rates were observed in rats treated with 4 IU PMSG (84.1%) and in rats infused with FSH-hCG (91.0%); however, a much lower fertilization rate was observed following treatment with 40 IU PMSG (41.5%). From median ovulation rates of 9 and 79 in rats treated with 4 IU PMSG and in rats infused with FSH-hCG, medians of 8 and 69 embryos, respectively, were recovered from reproductive tracts flushed on day 4 of pregnancy, from which 75% were morulae or blastocysts; in contrast, from a median ovu lation rate of 42.5, a median of only 12 embryos was recovered on day 3 of pregnancy following superovulation with 40 IU PMSG of which 80% were degenerate ova. Serum steroid profiles during the first 4 days of pregnancy differed significantly among treatment groups, the major differences being in substantially elevated levels of estradiol and andro-gens on days 1-3 in rats receiving the high (40 IU) dose of PMSG. Levels of these steroids in rats superovulated with the FSH-hCG infusion regimen were only marginally elevated above levels observed in rats treated with the low (4 IU) nonsuperovulatory dose of PMSG. Consistent with high ovulation rates, serum progesterone levels rose to considera bly higher levels during the period in both superovulated groups than in animals receiving the low, nonsuperovulatory dose of PMSG. This work describes a novel method to superovulate rate (FSH-hCG) leading to high yields of normally developing embryos at all preimplantation stages and illustrates the close association between high yield of emyryos and low levels of circulating andorgens and estradiol-17β during the preimplantation period.
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