Metformin attenuates steroidogenesis in ovarian follicles of the broiler breeder hen

Evelyn A. Weaver, Ramesh Ramachandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The follicular hierarchy in broiler breeder chicken ovary is often deranged due to excessive ovarian follicular recruitment, resulting in a condition that resembles polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women. Metformin is widely prescribed to correct PCOS and has been shown to affect granulosa cell functions in humans and rodent models. The objectives of this study are to determine the effects of metformin on signal transduction pathways, gene expression related to steroidogenesis, and progesterone secretion from granulosa cells isolated from the most recently recruited preovulatory and prehierarchical follicles of broiler breeder chickens. Granulosa cells were treated with 0, 1, 10, or 20 mM of metformin in the presence of FSH. The abundance of pAMPK, pACC, pERK, and pAkt was determined by Western blotting. The expression of genes related to progesterone biosynthesis was quantified by qPCR. Progesterone concentrations in culture media were quantified by ELISA. Metformin treatment did not have an effect on the abundance of pAMPK and pACC in prehierarchical follicles but significantly decreased the abundance of pERK and pAkt in a dose-dependent manner in preovulatory and prehierarchical follicles. The expression of genes related to steroidogenesis such as FSHR, STAR, CYP11A1, HSD3B, and progesterone secretion was significantly decreased in response to metformin treatment in a dose-dependent manner. Our data suggest that metformin treatment attenuates progesterone secretion via AMPK-independent pathways in granulosa cells of prehierarchical and preovulatory follicles of broiler breeder hens. Further studies are required to determine if metformin administration could ameliorate ovarian dysfunction in obese broiler breeder hens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-672
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Embryology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Metformin attenuates steroidogenesis in ovarian follicles of the broiler breeder hen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this