Growth Hormone Increases DNA Damage in Ovarian Follicles and Macrophage Infiltration in the Ovaries

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Springer Cham

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Evidence points to an important role of the growth hormone (GH) in the aging process and longevity. GH-deficient mice are smaller, live longer than normal littermates, and females have an increased ovarian reserve. The aim of the study was to evaluate the role of GH in the ovarian reserve by evaluating DNA damage, macrophage infiltration, and granulosa cell number in primordial and primary follicles. Experiment 1 used GH-deficient Ames dwarf mice (df/df, n = 12) and their normal littermates (N/df, n = 12), receiving GH or saline injections. Experiment 2 included transgenic mice overexpressing bovine GH (bGH) (n = 6) and normal mice (N, n = 6). DNA damage (anti-γH2AX) and macrophage counting (anti-CD68) were evaluated by immunofluorescence. Female df/df mice had lower γH2AX foci intensity in both oocytes and granulosa cells of primordial and primary follicles (p < 0.05), indicating fewer DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). GH treatment increased DSBs in both df/df and N/df mice. Inversely, bGH mice had a higher quantity of DSBs in both oocytes and granulosa cells of primordial and primary follicles (p < 0.05). Df/df mice showed ovarian tissue with less macrophage infiltration than N/df mice (p < 0.05) and GH treatment increased macrophage infiltration (p < 0.05). In contrast, bGH mice had ovarian tissue with more macrophage infiltration compared to normal mice (p < 0.05). The current study shows that GH increases DNA DSBs in oocytes and granulosa cells and raises macrophage infiltration in the ovaries, pointing to the role of the GH/IGF-I axis in maintenance of oocyte DNA integrity and ovarian macrophage infiltration in mice.