Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone on the ovarian reserve and pregnancy outcomes in perimenopausal rats (DHEA and fertility in perimenopausal rats)

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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a weak androgen and a crucial precursor of sex steroids. Exogenous supplementation of DHEA is now being commonly used to augment ovarian stimulation in women with diminished ovarian reserve. However, the effects of DHEA are controversial.


This study verifies the effects of pharmacologic doses of DHEA on the ovarian reserve variables, follicular development, reproductive function, and pregnancy outcomes of perimenopausal rats.

Main methods:

The reproductive function was studied by monitoring the estrous cycle and hormones. The ovarian reserve was studied by testing the anti-mullerian hormone and ovarian histology. The follicular development was studied histologically and immunohistochemically.

Key findings:

DHEA supplementation at a dose of at 50 mg/kg improved the ovarian reserve and pregnancy outcomes. Higher doses of DHEA caused PCOs-like symptoms manifested by the development of cystic follicles and low ovarian reserve and pregnancy outcomes.


DHEA is a promising treatment that improves the ovarian reserve parameters and pregnancy outcomes. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal dose and duration.

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