Effect of leptin administration and feed restriction on thecal leucocytes in the preovulatory rat ovary and the effects of leptin on meiotic maturation, granulosa cell proliferation, steroid hormone and PGE2 release in cultured rat ovarian follicles

P. S. Duggal, N. K. Ryan, K. H. Van der Hoek, L. J. Ritter, D. T. Armstrong, D. A. Magoffin, R. J. Norman

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Leptin is expressed by adipocytes and is thought to play a role in regulating food intake and in reproduction. It has been demonstrated that acute leptin administration to immature gonadotrophin-primed rats in vivo inhibits ovulation and causes a decline in food intake. However, feed restriction alone does not inhibit ovulation. Two experiments were designed to investigate the mechanism of leptin-induced inhibition of ovulation. In the first experiment, which was prompted by the importance of ovarian leucocytes in ovulation, the role of leucocytes in leptin-induced inhibition of ovulation was investigated. The second experiment investigated whether high leptin concentrations could inhibit other factors important to ovulation, such as meiotic competence of oocytes, granulosa cell proliferation, steroid or PGE2 release, and interleukin 1β production, in vitro. In the first experiment, the populations of neutrophils and monocytes-macrophages in the preovulatory follicles of gonadotrophin-primed, leptin-treated and -untreated rats were examined. A decrease in food intake, as a result of either leptin treatment or feed restriction, specifically reduced the numbers of neutrophils and monocytes-macrophages infiltrating the theca interna of preovulatory follicles without affecting the numbers found in the stroma. The findings show that reduced infiltration of thecal neutrophils and macrophages into preovulatory follicles is a response to reduced food intake. Furthermore, this reduction is not the direct cause of the leptin-induced inhibition of ovulation. In the second experiment, ovarian follicles were cultured for 4 or 12 h in the presence or absence of the following hormones: FSH (500 miu), insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) (50 ng ml-1), LH (100 ng ml-1) and leptin (300 ng ml-1). The results demonstrated that high concentrations of leptin in follicle culture do not affect meiotic maturation or steroid release, but tend to inhibit release of PGE2 (although this result was not significant). DNA synthesis in granulosa cells was not inhibited by leptin in FSH- and IGF-I-supplemented culture media. These results are in agreement with previous studies that have shown that leptin inhibits the stimulatory effects of IGF-I on FSH-stimulated oestradiol production in rat granulosa cells without affecting progesterone production. In summary, leptin does not appear to have an adverse effect on the components of ovulation tested in this study, and therefore must impact on the ovulatory cascade in a way that remains to be defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-898
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Cell Biology

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