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Effect of chemotherapy on primordial follicular reserve of rat: An animal model of premature ovarian failure and infertility


Dr Mustafa Cosan Terek, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ege University Faculty of Medicine, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey 35100. Email:


Aim:  To determine the effect of paclitaxel and cisplatin in the reduction of primordial follicular reserve in rat.

Material and methods:  Thirty young female rats were divided randomly into three groups of 10 rats each. Paclitaxel 7.5 mg/kg and cisplatin 5 mg/kg were administered intraperitoneally in a single dose sterile technique to paclitaxel (n = 10), and cisplatin (n = 10) groups, and sterile saline solution was given to a control group (n = 10). To assess the effects of chemotherapeutic agents on the primordial follicles, the rats were oophorectomised 7 days after the administration of chemotherapeutic agents. Haematoxylin and eosin staining was used to determine the number of primordial follicles. Primordial follicles were identified by the presence of an oocyte encapsulated partially or completely by a single layer of flattened follicular cells without a theca layer at the ovarian cortex.

Results:  The number of primordial follicles in the control group was 23.1 ± 16.1 follicles. The number of primordial follicles were decreased significantly in both paclitaxel and cisplatin groups compared to control group (10.3 ± 13.0 and 13.9 ± 15.2 follicles, respectively) (P = 0.001 and P = 0.01, respectively). The difference in the number of primordial follicles between the paclitaxel and cisplatin groups was insignificant (P = 0.465).

Conclusion:  The administration of high dose paclitaxel and cisplatin to young rats causes the depletion of primordial follicles. However, no significant difference was observed between the two agents.