Despite polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) being one of the most common endocrine disorders affecting reproductive-aged women, the etiopathogenesis and mechanisms of this syndrome remain unclear. Considering the ethical limitations in human studies, animal models that reflect many features of PCOS are crucial resources to investigate this syndrome. We aimed to introduce the most suitable rat model of PCOS that closely mimics the endocrine, ovarian and metabolic disturbances of human PCOS phenotype, while maintaining normal reproductive system morphology in adulthood, in order to further more detailed investigations about PCOS.
We searched Pubmed, Science direct, and Web of science between 1990 and 2016, for relevant English manuscripts, using keywords including the “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome AND Rat Model” to generate a subset of citations relevant to our research. Included were those articles that compared at least both ovarian histology or estrous cycle and reproductive hormonal profiles in hormone-induced rat model of PCOS and controls.
Differences in the findings between hormone-induced PCOS rats appear to be a result of the degree of transplacental transfer of the steroid administered into the fetus, dose and type of hormone, route of administration and timing and duration of exposure. We conclude that prenatal hormone-induced rat model with a lower dose and shorter time of exposure during the critical period of fetal development that exhibits endocrine, ovarian and metabolic disturbances similar to PCOS in women, while maintaining normal reproductive system morphology in adulthood is more suitable than postnatal hormone-induced rat model to facilitate studies regarding PCOS.