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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 

Immunization with zona pellucida proteins results in abnormal ovarian follicular differentiation and inhibition of gonadotropin-induced steroid secretion.

Changes in rabbit ovarian hormonal responses and cellular differentiation of ovarian follicles after immunization with porcine zona pellucida (ZP) have been examined. Steroid and peptide hormone levels were monitored after immunization to evaluate ovulation and pseudopregnancy cycles in immunized and control animals. All immunized rabbits developed serum antibodies to specific ZP antigens and failed to form functional corpora lutea in response to hCG administration, as evidenced by the absence of elevated serum progesterone concentrations. This is in contrast to control rabbits, which had elevated progesterone levels 8-9 days after hCG administration. Furthermore, all immunized animals showed greatly increased serum levels of FSH and LH compared to those of control animals. These effects on ovarian function were apparent within 20 weeks of the primary immunization. Follicular development was analyzed by light and electron microscopies. The numbers of primary, secondary, and tertiary follicles in ovaries of immunized animals were markedly reduced within 7 weeks compared with control values. By 23 weeks, few if any growing follicles were present. Although numerous distinct clusters of cells with ultrastructural properties that resemble those of normal follicular cells were present in immunized animals, they contained no oocytes. These studies suggest that antibodies to ZP glycoprotein alter ovarian function by interfering with cells during the stage of follicle differentiation at which the ZP proteins are being synthesized and secreted. This system should provide an excellent model with which to study the early events associated with ovarian follicular cell differentiation and subsequent hormonal responsiveness.[1]

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