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Mechanism Research of DHEA Treatment Improving Diminished Ovarian Reserve by Attenuating the AMPK-SIRT1 Signaling and Mitophagy

et al. Qianwen Ma

Reproductive Sciences


This study aims to investigate the effect and mechanism of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) by modulating the AMPK-SIRT1 signaling and mitophagy in rats. Three-month-old female Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats were randomized and injected intraperitoneally with sesame oil as the control or deoxyvinylcyclohexene (VCD) to induce DOR.

The VCD-injected rats were randomized and injected subcutaneously with vehicle as the model group or with DHEA for 21 days as the DHEA group. After being identified in proestrus, rat blood samples were collected to prepare serum samples, and their ovarian tissues were dissected. Compared with the controls, significantly lower serum estradiol (E2), anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), and inhibin B (IHNB) and higher follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were detected in the model group (DOR rats).

The model group of rats displayed an increase in follicular atresia and a decrease in ovarian volume and the number of growing follicles and corpus luteum, accompanied by increased frequency of oocyte apoptosis and reduced levels of mitochondrial function.

Furthermore, significantly higher levels of the AMPK-SIRT1 signaling and mitophagy were observed in the ovaries of rats in the model group. In contrast, treatment with DHEA significantly ameliorated the hormone disorder and morphological changes in the ovaries, reduced the frequency of apoptotic oocytes, and improved mitochondrial function in the ovaries of DOR rats.

Mechanistically, DHEA treatment significantly attenuated the AMPK-SIRT1 signaling and mitophagy in the ovaries of DOR rats. DHEA treatment reduced the severity of DOR and enhanced ovarian reserve function by attenuating the AMPK-SIRT1 signaling and mitophagy in the ovaries of rats.


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