Impact of uremia on female reproductive cyclicity, ovulation, and luteinizing hormone in the rat

Richard J. Krieg, Keiko Tokieda, James C.M. Chan, Johannes D. Veldhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background. Impaired reproductive function accompanies chronic renal insufficiency (uremia) in both the human and experimental animal. Clinical hypogonadism occurs in both genders. The present studies were designed to investigate possible anti-ovulatory effects of uremia in the female rat, a species that produces multiple ova during the normal estrous cycle. Methods. Renal insufficiency (uremia) was induced by 5/6 nephrectomy. Two control groups comprised sham-operated animals fed ad libitum (sham) or pair-wise with the uremic animals (pair-fed). Estrous cycles were determined by cytology of vaginal lavage. We examined concomitant changes in the preovulatory luteinizing hormone (LH) surge by radioimmunoassay (RIA), immunoradiometric assay (IRMA), and bioassay. Repetitive LH measurements were made from blood samples taken by intra-atrial catheter throughout the afternoon and evening of proestrus. The following morning (estrus), ovaries were collected, and ova were enumerated per oviduct. Results. Experimentally uremic animals manifested a three-fold elevation of plasma creatinine and urea nitrogen and concomitantly a more than 50% impoverishment of ova production. Analyses of a large group of animals (N = 83) by RIA revealed uremia-associated attenuation of the preovulatory LH surge. Further measurements of the preovulatory LH surge by independent IRMA and LH bioassay (N = 26) corroborated this attenuation. Additional experiments indicated that these hormonal changes, but not changes in ovulation, might further reflect modulation of LH release by the anesthesia used in the preparative nephrectomy and catheterization surgeries. When normalized to body weight, the ovaries of uremic rats were found to weigh more than those of either the sham or pair-fed animals. Conclusions. The present experiments take advantage of an experimental uremic model to document a consistent decrease in the number of ova released during estrus in the uremic animal. Possible disruption of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian regulation is further highlighted by attenuation in the preovulatory LH surge. These results provide a basis for further studies of neuroendoctrine pathophysiology in a rodent model of uremia-associated ovulatory disruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4491723
Pages (from-to)569-574
Number of pages6
JournalKidney international
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Amenorrhea
  • Estrous cycle
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Ovulatory disruption
  • Renal insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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