Follicular fluid steroid content and in vitro steroid secretion by granulosa-lutein cells from individual follicles among different stimulation protocols for in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer.


The in vitro steroidogenic capacity of granulosa-lutein (G-L) cells aspirated from individual follicles during cycles of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer was examined and compared among three different stimulation protocols: human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG), clomiphene citrate (CC) and hMG, and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). In addition, the clinical outcome of the patients in each protocol was examined. After 3 days of culture in basal medium, fresh medium with or without androstenedione (A) (10(-7) M) was added for 24 hr, at which time medium was obtained for measurement of progesterone (P) and estradiol (E) content. Follicular fluid (FF) P, E, and A were measured in each follicle and compared among protocols. FF from individual follicles in patients stimulated with FSH contained higher levels of P compared to FF from patients stimulated with hMG or CC/hMG, while E was higher in patients stimulated with CC/hMG compared to FSH or hMG. FF levels of A were not significantly different among the protocols. In vitro steroid secretion revealed a progressive increase in P secretion in contrast to decreasing E secretion when one compares CC/hMG, hMG, and FSH. Patients undergoing ovarian hyperstimulation with FSH had significantly more atretic oocytes identified at the time of oocyte harvest compared to patients undergoing ovarian hyperstimulation with CC/hMG or hMG. The hMG protocol yielded significantly fewer fertilized oocytes, cleaved embryos, and transferred embryos, compared to the CC/hMG and FSH protocol, however, there was no significant difference in pregnancy rate among the three protocols. These data demonstrate that individual follicles contain G-L cells with markedly different abilities to luteinize in vitro as assessed by steroid secretion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)