PROBLEM: To investigate if controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) affect
s the expression of neutrophil adhesion molecules and if a correlation exis
ts between neutrophil activation and serum sex-steroid levels.
METHOD OF STUDY: The pilot study was carried out in the in vitro fertilizat
ion (IVF) unit of our department, and required no modification of our routi
ne IVF protocol. Four patients arriving for baseline hormonal profile on da
y 1 of the menstrual cycle before initiation of COH (control group) and 11
patients admitted for; oocyte recovery (study group) were included. Venous
blood was obtained from all patients and examined for hormonal profile and
neutrophil activation. The latter was performed by staining for the surface
adhesion molecules beta 2 integrin and L-selectin. Positive cell count and
mean fluorescence intensity were determined by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: While neutrophil L-selectin was significantly lower in the study g
roup than in the control group, neutrophil beta 2 integrin was nonsignifica
ntly higher. Though no significant correlations were found between neutroph
il adhesion molecules and patient age, serum estradiol level, and human cho
rionic gonadotropin level; neutrophil L-selectin was negatively correlated
with serum progesterone levels.
CONCLUSIONS: COH leads to neutrophil activation, which correlates with the
degree of luteinization. Further studies are required to elucidate the rela
tionship between the immune system and COH. These may lead to new strategie
s for promoting fertility and preventing complications of COH.