Induction of follicle maturation and ovulation by gonadotropin administration in women with β-thalassemia

L. Danesi, M. Scacchi, A. M. Miragoli, A. I. Pincelli, A. Bubini, A. Maiolo, F. Cavagnini, E. E. Polli

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The objective of this paper was to assess the ability of gonadotropin administration to induce ovarian steroidogenesis, follicle maturation and ovulation in hypogonadal women affected by, β-thalassemia. Thirteen hypogonadal thalassemic women underwent a test with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (FSH), with estimation of serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. They were then administered human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) for a period ranging from 11 to 15 days with a total dose variable from 3300 to 4200 IU. In each patient, the initial dosage of 300 IU daily, adopted for the first 9 days, was modified subsequently according to the ovarian morphology, as shown by serial echographic examinations and by serum estradiol levels. In those patients in whom a dominant follicle was evidenced and the occurrence of pregnancy could be excluded, induction of ovulation was attempted by administration of 10 000 IU of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). All patients displayed a reduced LH and FSH rise in response to GnRH. Upon hMG administration, they exhibited echographic evidence of follicular growth with a clear-cut increase of serum estradiol, which peaked between the 9th and the 16th day from the start of treatment. In two out of three patients in whom a dominant follicle developed, ovulation was induced successfully by hCG injection, as shown by the increase of serum progesterone and by the ultrasonographic demonstration of a corpus luteum. This study has shown that, by proper pharmacological stimulation, the steroidogenic function of the gonads and even ovulation can be reinstated in hypogonadal thalassemic women. A hypothalamic/pituitary defect appears to be the main cause of amenorrhea in these patients, although a condition of ovarian resistance is also likely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-606
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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