Reproductive sterilization by surgical gonadectomy is strongly advocated to help manage animal populations, especially domesticated pets, and to prevent reproductive behaviors and diseases. This study explored the use of a single-injection method to induce sterility in female animals as an alternative to surgical ovariohysterectomy. The idea was based on our recent finding that repetitive daily injection of estrogen into neonatal rats disrupted hypothalamic expression of Kisspeptin (KISS1), the neuropeptide that triggers and regulates pulsatile secretion of GnRH. Neonatal female rats were dosed with estradiol benzoate (EB) either by daily injections for 11 days or by subcutaneous implantation of an EB-containing silicone capsule designed to release EB over 2–3 weeks. Rats treated by either method did not exhibit estrous cyclicity, were anovulatory, and became infertile. The EB-treated rats had fewer hypothalamic Kisspeptin neurons, but the GnRH-LH axis remained responsive to Kisspeptin stimulation. Because it would be desirable to use a biodegradable carrier that is also easier to handle, an injectable EB carrier was developed from PLGA microspheres to provide pharmacokinetics comparable to the EB-containing silicone capsule. A single neonatal injection of EB-microspheres at an equivalent dosage resulted in sterility in the female rat. In neonatal female Beagle dogs, implantation of an EB-containing silicone capsule also reduced ovarian follicle development and significantly inhibited KISS1 expression in the hypothalamus. None of the treatments produced any concerning health effects, other than infertility. Therefore, further development of this technology for sterilization in domestic female animals, such as dogs and cats is worthy of investigation.
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