OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between serum concentrations of inhibin A, inhibin B and estradiol (E(2)) and the number of developing follicles during the administration of exogenous follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in various regimens in normo-ovulatory volunteers and to evaluate if inhibins act as suitable markers for the number of developing follicles during ovarian stimulation. DESIGN AND METHODS: Serial hormone determinations and assessment of follicle numbers were carried out during unstimulated cycles and during various interventions with exogenous FSH. Subjects were randomized for FSH administration into the following groups: a single high dose (375 IU) during the early follicular phase (group A), 5 consecutive low doses (75 IU/day) starting in the mid follicular phase (group B) or daily low doses (75 IU/day) during the early to late follicular phase (starting on cycle days 3, 5 or 7; groups C, D and E respectively). RESULTS: Extending the FSH window increases the number of small antral follicles and hence inhibin B serum concentrations. If such an intervention results in multi-follicular growth, mid follicular phase inhibin B (P = 0.001) as well as late follicular phase inhibin B and inhibin A levels are significantly (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01 respectively) increased compared with mono-follicular cycles or the natural cycle. Although mid follicular inhibin B levels correlated well with the number of small antral (P < 0.05) and pre-ovulatory (P < 0.001) follicles in the late follicular phase, mid follicular inhibin A and estradiol serum concentrations only correlated with the number of pre-ovulatory follicles (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The present data extend our understanding of the relationship between follicle dynamics, serum inhibins and FSH during ovarian hyperstimulation. However, although mid follicular inhibin B does correlate with the number of developing follicles, it does not facilitate the identification of women at risk for multiple follicle development.

*Ovulation Induction, Adult, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Estradiol/*blood, Female, Follicle Stimulating Hormone/*administration & dosage/pharmacology, Follicular Phase/blood, Humans, Inhibins/*blood, Osmolar Concentration, Ovarian Follicle/*physiology, Recombinant Proteins/administration & dosage/pharmacology, Reference Values
dx.doi.org/10.1530/eje.1.01871, hdl.handle.net/1765/13719
European Journal of Endocrinology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hohmann, F.P, Laven, J.S.E, Fauser, B.C.J.M, & de Jong, F.H. (2005). Relationship between inhibin A and B, estradiol and follicle growth dynamics during ovarian stimulation in normo-ovulatory women. European Journal of Endocrinology, 152(3), 395–401. doi:10.1530/eje.1.01871