- The effects of altering the number and type of additional carbohydrate moieties on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of FSH were examined in this report. A series of single-chain follitropins, containing variable numbers of additional N- (or O-) linked carbohydrates, were designed and expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Proper folding, efficient receptor binding, and signal transduction were confirmed by in vitro assays. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters were evaluated in immature female Sprague Dawley rats. Increasing the number of glycosylation sites with either N- (or O-) linked moieties extended the elimination half-life as much as 2-fold compared with recombinant human FSH (rhFSH). However, there was a maximum elimination half-life such that further glycosylation provided no additional lengthening of the half-life. Conversely, biopotency, as assessed by inhibin A levels 74 h post injection, and follicle production were significantly higher for the N-linked analogs. Rats stimulated with the longest acting analogs (either N- or O-linked) showed significantly higher ovarian weights than rats receiving a single injection of rhFSH. The analog containing four additional N-linked sites (rhFSH-N4) had the greatest number of large, preovulatory follicles. Although the half-life of rhFSH-N4 displayed no further enhancement beyond the other longest acting analogs, this analog exhibited significantly increased biopotency in rats. This work provides the basis for the generation of a series of reagents potentially useful for therapeutic applications.