Gonadotropins Induce the Release of Interleukin-1β, Interleukin-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α from the Human Preovulatory Follicle


Case Western Reserve University, Department of Reproductive Biology, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Room 7015, Cleveland, OH 44106.


PROBLEM; The effects of exogenous gonadotropin administration and steroid levels on the release of various cytokines into the human follicular fluid (FF) were studied.

METHOD OF STUDY: Forty patients were included in two groups, those undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) (n = 33) and natural cycles (n = 7). FF transvaginal aspirations were performed 36 hr after administration of human chorionic gonadotropin or a spontaneous surge of luteinizing hormone, respectively. FF cytokine measurements were performed with sensitive immunoassays.

RESULTS: FF cytokine levels were higher after COH [interleukin (IL)-1β, 6.6 ± 0.32 pg/ml; IL-6, 18.7 ± 2.1 pg/ml; and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, 32.5 ± 4.9 pg/ml] than in natural unstimulated cycles (0.52 ± 0.1 pg/ml, P < 0.001; 8.9 ± 1.2 pg/ml, P < 0.01; and 13.2 ± 2.6 pg/ml, P < 0.001, respectively). FF estradiol (E2) and progesterone levels were not statistically different between groups, despite the higher serum E2 levels observed in patients after COH.

CONCLUSIONS: Gonadotropins might regulate ovarian secretion of cytokines, because FF IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α levels after COH were higher than during natural cycles.