Effect of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in IVF on endometrial gene expression profiles

Horcajadas J A, Riesewijk A, Polman J, van Os R, Pellicer A, Mosselman S, Simon C,
Mol Hum Reprod. Mar. 2005 doi: 10.1093/molehr/gah150


Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) used in IVF produces lower implantation rates per embryo transferred compared to natural cycles utilized in ovum donation, suggesting a suboptimal endometrial development. Endometrial receptivity has recently been investigated in natural menstrual cycles with the aid of microarray technology. The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of COH using urinary gonadotrophins with a long protocol with GnRH agonists without progesterone supplementation (similar to the natural cycle) on endometrial gene expression profiles during the window of implantation by comparing the profiles at day hCG + 7 of COH versus LH + 7 of a previous natural cycle in the same women. For this purpose we have used microarray technology by Affymetrix (GeneChip HG_U133A), which allows more than 22,000 genes to be tested simultaneously. Results were validated by semi-quantitative PCR and quantitative PCR experiments. We found that more than 200 genes showed a differential expression of more than 3-fold when COH and normal cycles were compared at hCG + 7 versus LH + 7. We simultaneously re-analysed the LH + 2 versus LH + 7 endometrial gene expression profiles in previous natural cycles in the same subject using this specific GeneChip, the results obtained were consistent with our own published results. This is the first time that gene expression profiles of the endometrium during COH are reported. The large degree of gene expression disturbance is surprising and highlights the need for further efforts to optimize COH protocols.