The objective of this study was to set up a superovulation protocol in adult cyclic rats by using recombinant human follicle stimulating hormone (rhFSH; Org32489). Good results were obtained by treatment with decreasing doses of rhFSH (2.5 to 0.5 IU) during the dioestrus period. The number of corpora lutea (CL) found in rats treated with this protocol was 43.5 +/- 3.4; this is more than three times the number in saline-treated control rats (13.0 +/- 0.4). Fertilization of oocytes after superovulation was as good as after normal ovulation in terms of number of 2-cell stage embryos found 2 days after mating. The absolute number of implantations was twice the number observed in saline-treated control rats (23.3 +/- 1.8 versus 10.6 +/- 0.5); therefore the number of implantations per CL was lower in superovulated rats. The serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH), endogenous FSH and oestradiol-17beta were decreased during rhFSH treatment, while the inhibin serum concentration was increased. The progesterone serum concentration was increased on the days of pro-oestrus and oestrus after treatment. No difference was observed in the testosterone serum concentration. Pretreatment with 10 IU rhFSH at oestrus before giving the decreasing doses of rhFSH during dioestrus reduced the ovulatory response. Finally, treatment with a constant low dose of rhFSH instead of a decreasing dose of rhFSH did not result in spontaneous ovulation. However, ovulation induction by means of a human chorionic gonadotrophin bolus resulted in superovulation in six out of eight rats.
It is concluded that superovulation in cyclic rats can be achieved using rhFSH treatment. However, it was found that the type of rhFSH regimen was very important to achieve appropriate stimulation. The optimal protocol was treatment with decreasing doses of rhFSH during dioestrus. The oocytes retrieved could be fertilized as well as oocytes of saline-treated control rats. The results also indicate that treatment with higher doses of rhFSH might induce a desensitization for FSH and LH.

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Keywords Adult rat, Follicle development, FSH, Recombinant FSH, Superovulation
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Journal Human Reproduction
van Cappellen, W.A, Kramer, P, van Leeuwen, E.C.M, de Leeuw, R, & de Jong, F.H. (1997). Induction of superovulation in cyclic rats by administration of decreasing doses of recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (Org32489). Human Reproduction, 12(2), 224–230. doi:10.1093/humrep/12.2.224