, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 594–604 | Cite as

Roles of thyroid hormones in follicular development in the ovary of neonatal and immature rats

  • Jaafar Sulieman Fedail
  • Kaizhi Zheng
  • Quanwei Wei
  • Lingfa Kong
  • Fangxiong ShiEmail author
Original Article


Thyroid hormones (TH) play a critical role in ovarian follicular development, maturation and the maintenance of various endocrine functions. However, whether TH can affect ovarian follicular development in neonatal and immature rats remains unclear. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to elucidate the effect of TH on ovarian follicular development in neonatal and immature rats. Thirty female post-lactation mothers of Sprague–Dawley rat pups were randomly divided into three groups: control, hyperthyroid (hyper), and hypothyroid (hypo). On postnatal days (PND) 10 and 21, body weights, serum hormones, ovarian histologic changes, and immunohistochemistry of thyroid hormone receptor alpha 1 (TRα1) and nitric oxide synthase types (NOS), and NOS activities, were determined. The data showed that body weights significantly decreased in both hyper and hypo groups compared with the control group (P < 0.05). In addition, the hyper group had increased serum concentrations of T3, T4, and E2; whereas the hypo group manifested reduced serum concentrations of T3, T4, and E2 on PND 10 and 21. The hyper and hypo groups showed significantly reduced total number of primordial, primary and secondary follicles on PND 10 and 21 compared with the control group (P < 0.05). Similarly, antral follicle numbers in the hyper and hypo groups were significantly decreased on PND 21 compared with the control group (P < 0.05). Immunostaining indicated that TRα1 and NOS were expressed in ovarian surface epithelium and oocytes of growing and antral follicles, with strong staining of the granulosa and theca cells of follicles. NOS activities were significantly augmented in the hyper, but diminished in the hypo groups on PND 10 and 21. In summary, our findings suggest that TH play important roles in ovarian functions and in the regulation of NOS activity. Our results also indicate that a relationship exists between the TH and NO signaling pathways during the process of ovarian follicular development in neonatal and immature rats.


Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) Ovary Rat Thyroid hormone (TH) 



We express our gratitude to Dr. Reinhold J. Hutz of the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in USA for reading the original manuscript and offering valuable suggestions. This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 31172206).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaafar Sulieman Fedail
    • 1
  • Kaizhi Zheng
    • 1
  • Quanwei Wei
    • 1
  • Lingfa Kong
    • 1
  • Fangxiong Shi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Reproduction, College of Animal Science and TechnologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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