Proliferation of granulosa cells is inversely related to differentiation and hormone production. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the intrafollicular and serum steroid concentrations and to compare these results to granulosa cell proliferation as measured by DNA flow cytometry. Human granulosa lutein cells in follicular fluid of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) patients were investigated with regard to ploidy, percentage of S-phase cells and proliferation index (PI: percentage of cells in the S- and G 2 /M-phase). The study was originally designed to indicate an additional marker for the outcome of IVF treatment by DNA flow cytometric measurements of granulosa lutein cells. Follicular fluids of 160 follicles (45 patients) were evaluated; 45.6% ( n = 73) of the follicles showed aneuploid granulosa lutein cells and 5.6% ( n = 9) of the follicles contained multiploid granulosa cells, defined as at least two aneuploid populations of cells with different DNA indices. A total of 48.8% ( n = 78) of the follicles had only diploid cells. Thus > 50% of the investigated follicles showed aneuploidy. In all, 73% (33 of 45) of patients had at least one follicle containing aneuploid granulosa lutein cells. The PI of the aneuploid cell populations significantly exceeded that of the diploid cell populations (median: aneuploid: 15.5; diploid: 7.4; P < 0.0001). The intrafollicular concentrations of testosterone, progesterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) were significantly lower in follicles with aneuploid granulosa cell populations. Luteinizing hormone concentration was significantly higher in follicles with aneuploid granulosa cells. Intrafollicular concentrations of oestradiol, follicle stimulating hormone and the serum concentrations of all steroid hormones did not show any significant correlation to ploidy. Although aneuploidy has been reported for oocytes (in ∼ 17% of the oocytes), no study, to our knowledge, has observed such a high incidence of aneuploidy in granulosa lutein cells after gonadotrophin stimulation. Except for aneuploidy found in tissues with some characteristics of neoplastic growth (colon adenoma, borderline tumours, endometriosis with atypic cells, etc.), it is unique for non-malignant human cells. The correlation with intrafollicular steroid concentrations points to a possible pathophysiological or physiological relevance of these findings. However, it was impossible to correlate the outcome of IVF with DNA flow cytometry results.
Copyright (C) 1998, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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