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A Rat Model of Maternal Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Shows that Exposure to Androgens In Utero Results in Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and Metabolic Disorders of the Newborn Rat

Tuohetimulati Gulan, Tusufuhan Yeernuer, Shuang Sui, Niziya Mayinuer

Department of Reproductive Medicine, The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region People’s Hospital, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:9377-9391

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.918600

Available online:

Published: 2019-12-09

BACKGROUND: Intestinal dysbiosis, or dysbacteriosis, is an abnormal interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the host cells due to altered microbial diversity. This study aimed to investigate the metabolic effects and changes in the intestinal microbiota in newborn rats following exposure to increased levels of maternal androgens in a rat model of maternal polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The administration of androgen developed the rat maternal PCOS model during pregnancy. Maternal rat ovarian follicles were counting and assessed by histology. The metabolic phenotype of newborn rats was evaluated and included an insulin tolerance test, a glucose tolerance test, and measurement of serum levels of triglyceride, insulin, cholesterol, adiponectin, and leptin. Expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was detected using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), serum levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and proteins associated with adipose tissue remodeling and adipocyte differentiation were measured by Western blot.
RESULTS: Markers of systemic inflammation were significantly increased in the female offspring but not in the male offspring born to rat in the PCOS model. Following birth, newborn rats that received antibiotics showed an improved metabolic phenotype, with reduced serum lipid levels, insulin resistance, body weight, inflammation of adipose tissue, and serum levels of inflammatory cytokines compared with controls. Probiotics had no significant effects on these parameters in newborn rats.
CONCLUSIONS: In a rat model of maternal PCOS, exposure to androgens in utero resulted in dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota and metabolic disorders of the newborn female rats.

Keywords: 46, XY Disorders of Sex Development, Androgens, Fetal Diseases, microbiota, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome