Precocious ovulation induced by human chorionic gonadotrophin in the immature female rat: comparison of follicle growth induced by treatment with human chorionic gonadotrophin and by electrical stimulation of the hypothalamus
Precocious first ovulation, preceded by an endogenous preovulatory LH surge, could be predictably induced in immature female rats by administering repeated injections of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). Administration of a dose of 0·05–0·075 i.u. hCG, four times a day from day 28 to day 31 of age resulted in a highly constant ovulatory response: at 4·0±0·0 days after the start of treatment 7·7±0·3 (n = 15) ova were found. Use of a higher dose of hCG (0·1 i.u.) resulted in lower numbers of ova (5·6±0·4, n = 7; P<0·005) whereas use of a lower dose of hCG (0·025–0·038 i.u.) resulted in a less constant timing of the induced ovulation at 5·4±0·2 days after the start of treatment (n = 7; P<0·0005). In animals treated with the dose of 0·05–0·075 i.u. hCG, a positive correlation was found between body weight at the start of treatment and the number of ova released (r = 0·75, n = 25; P<0·001).
Ovarian follicle dynamics were studied on the various days of hCG treatment (dose 0·05–0·075 i.u.) and compared with the follicle changes that take place after electrical stimulation of the hypothalamus, performed on day 28, a treatment known to result in first ovulation 4–5 days later. In both groups a decrease in the number of the smallest and the middle-sized antral follicles as compared with their respective controls was seen, whereas numbers of follicles in the largest, 'ovulatable' size classes gradually increased. The pattern was more conspicuous in the hCG-treated group, presumably related to greater constancy in timing of the ovulatory response in this group.
The present data support the view that endogenous changes in LH secretion during late prepuberty (which have been found to take place) play a significant role in stimulating late-prepubertal follicle growth and the ensuing first ovulation.