It is established that food deprivation has a marked adverse effect on vaginal cytology and ovarian weight in the rat. This is generally attributed to an impaired secretion of pituitary gonadotrophins (Piacsek & Meites, 1967; Howland, 1971a; Negro-Vilar, Dickerman & Meites, 1971). Recently, Howland (1971b, c, 1972) has examined the ability of the underfed rat to exhibit the compensatory ovarian hypertrophy following unilateral ovariectomy that is known to occur in the fully fed animal (Benson, Sorrentino & Evans, 1969). He concluded that compensatory hypertrophy was not evident in rats which had been subjected to a period of severe dietary restriction. Further, the report of Howland (1971b) indicates that, although hypertrophy of the remaining ovary may not result from hemicastration, the gonadal atrophy usually associated with food deprivation can be prevented by unilateral ovariectomy.
The influence of a reduced food allowance on the compensatory response was examined by Howland (1971b, c)