Docetaxel induces moderate ovarian toxicity in mice, primarily affecting granulosa cells of early growing follicles

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Abstract / Description of output

Advances in cancer therapy have focussed attention on the quality of life of cancer survivors. Since infertility is a major concern following chemotherapy, it is important to characterise the drug-specific damage to the reproductive system to help find appropriate protective strategies. This study investigates the damage on neonatal mouse ovary maintained in vitro for 6 days, and exposed for 24 hours (on day 2) to clinically relevant doses of Docetaxel (DOC; low:0.1 µM, mid:1 µM, high:10 µM). Furthermore, the study explores the putative protective action exerted by Tri-iodothyronine (T3; 10(-7)M). At the end of culture, morphological analyses and follicle counts showed that DOC negatively impacts on early growing follicles, decreasing primary follicle number and severely affecting health at the transitional and primary stages. Poor follicle health was mainly due to effects on granulosa cells, indicating that the effects of DOC on oocytes were likely to be secondary to granulosa cell damage. DOC damages growing follicles specifically, with no direct effect on the primordial follicle reserve. Immunostaining and Western blotting showed that DOC induces activation of intrinsic, type II apoptosis in ovarian somatic cells; increasing the levels of cleaved caspase 3, cleaved caspase 8, Bax and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, while also inducing movement of cytochrome C from mitochondria into the cytosol. T3 did not prevent the damage induced by the low dose of DOC. These results demonstrated that DOC induces a gonadotoxic effect on the mouse ovary through induction of somatic cell apoptosis, with no evidence of direct effects on the oocyte, and that the damaging effect is not mitigated by T3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-959
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number10
Early online date30 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


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