Dijkstra G, de Rooij DG, de Jong FH, van den Hurk R. Effect of hypothyroidism on ovarian follicular development, granulosa cell proliferation and peripheral hormone levels in the prepubertal rat. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;134:649–54. ISSN 0804–4643
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of prepubertal hypothyroidism on ovarian development in rats. Therefore, from birth up to day 40 postpartum, rats were given 6-propyl-2-thiouracil (PTU) via the drinking water of mothers and pups. At ages ranging from 12 to 40 days, ovarian weights were measured and serum was collected to estimate thyrotrophin (TSH), folliclestimulating hormone (FSH) and inhibin levels. Two hours before sacrifice the animals received an injection of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) to estimate the proliferative activity of the follicular granulosa cells. Ovaries were fixed in Carnoy's fluid and follicle counts were performed on sections stained with anti-BrdU and with haematoxylin and eosin. The PTU treatment resulted in increased serum TSH levels, indicative of hypothyroidism, and markedly lower body and ovarian weights, whereas serum FSH and inhibin levels were hardly affected. At day 40, ovaries of PTU-treated animals contained relatively more secondary and less antral follicles, smaller non-atretic antral follicles and more atretic follicles when compared with untreated rats, while corpora lutea were absent. It is concluded that this disturbed folliculogenesis is due to inadequate thyroid hormone supply, which hampers the differentiation and not the proliferation of granulosa cells because diameters of antral follicles were significantly smaller whereas the BrdU-labelling index had not changed.
Robert van den Hurk, Department of Functional Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 80.157, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands