Sullivan and colleagues stopped production of fertility hormones artificially in the study group,
and then stimulated follicle development in all the women with recombinant human FSH.
When a 14-mm. follicle was identified by ultrasound (an arbitrary size thought to guarantee
sufficient maturity), the women were randomized to one of four groups: continued FSH
treatment; FSH replaced with saline; FSH replaced with high dose of recombinant LH, and
FSH replaced with low dose of recombinant LH.
After two days of treatment, researchers measured blood levels of estrogen, the sign that a
follicle is healthy and developing normally. Estrogen levels dropped in the saline group,
indicating the maturing follicle had ceased to thrive in the absence of FSH or LH. In all three
remaining groups, estrogen levels continued to rise and pregnancies resulted in all three
"This suggests that if you administer FSH until one follicle matures, then limit FSH and
substitute LH, you can support the growth of the maturing follicle, but won't recruit any more
follicles," Sullivan said. "We are now trying to determine how far back in the cycle you can
push this process and still capture a maturing follicle."
Also participating in the study were Ann Stewart-Akers, Joel S. Krasnow, Sarah L. Berga and
Anthony J. Zeleznik of the departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes Page: 1 2 3 4 Related biology news :1
Contact: Lois Baker
University at Buffalo
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