Superovulation with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or chorionic gonadotropin for ovulation trigger differentially affects leukocyte populations in the peri-implantation mouse uterus

Uterine Biology

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2, P198-206, MAY 01, 2021


Valerie R. Libby, M.D., Rachel Wilson, M.S., Adam Kresak, M.S., Cheryl Cameron, Ph.D., Raymond Redline, M.D., Sam Mesiano, Ph.D., Rachel Weinerman, M.D. 



To investigate the effect of superovulation with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) trigger on leukocyte density and expression of leukocyte-specific genes in the peri-implantation period in the mouse uterus.


Laboratory research.


University laboratory facility.


Female mice were mated to fertile male mice in one of three protocols: (1) natural mating or mating following injection with pregnant mare serum gonadotropin followed by trigger with (2) GnRHa or (3) hCG. Female mice were killed prior to implantation, 3 days after ovulation (E3.5), and the ovaries and uterine tissue were collected. Total RNA was isolated and assayed using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and the uterine tissue was stained for histologic analysis of immune cell markers.

Main Outcome Measures

Endometrial leukocyte (CD45) and vessel density (CD31) by immunohistochemical staining; expression of leukocyte markers CD11b, CD335, and CD22, by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in the whole uterine tissue.


Superovulation decreased (compared with controls) the endometrial leukocyte density, based on the number of cells staining for CD45, and endometrial vessel density, based on the number of cells staining for CD31. Leukocyte density was additionally decreased in the GnRHa trigger group compared with that in the hCG trigger group. Superovulation with hCG and GnRHa triggers decreased the uterine expression of the B-cell marker CD22 compared with controls. The expression of the natural killer cell marker CD11b was decreased by the hCG trigger but not by the GnRHa. Abundance of mRNA encoding the CD335 natural killer cell marker was not affected by superovulation or trigger agent.


In mice, superovulation with the GnRHa trigger compared with that with the hCG trigger differentially alters key immunologic factors in the uterine peri-implantation. These altered immunologic factors have roles in angiogenesis that may assist in elucidating the effects of assisted reproductive technologies on implantation efficiency and fetal growth and development.

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