An automated enzymatic assay which measures combined concentrations of urinary oestrone and oestradiol within 15 minutes of hydrolysis has been developed using placental 17 beta oestradiol dehydrogenase. This assay is comparable to radioimmunoassay in its precision and sensitivity and is quicker, more convenient, and more economical. The 17 beta oestradiol dehydrogenase assay was used to monitor ovarian response in infertile women being treated through stimulated ovarian cycles or in vitro fertilisation programmes. Because the assay did not respond to oestriol it was less reliable than total urinary oestrogens in monitoring ovarian responses, particularly during treatment with drugs which enhanced oestriol excretion. In natural ovulatory cycles rising 17 beta oestradiol dehydrogenase values preceded peak luteotropin concentrations by up to 18 hours and improved detection of ovulation. The 17 beta oestradiol dehydrogenase assay processes large numbers of urine samples quickly and economically and enables accurate monitoring of oocyte maturity and ovulation.
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