Steroid hormone concentrations and enzyme activities in the uterine luminal fluid of ewes after superovulation.
ABSTRACT This study investigates the effect of superovulation on ovarian steroid concentrations, plasminogen activator activity (PAA) and glycosidases activity in the uterine luminal fluid of ewes, since the latter constitutes the environment in which embryos grow during early pregnancy. At the end of a 12-day progestagen treatment, 13 adult Chios ewes received superovulation treatment (SOV; Folltropin-200 mg, n=6; or Intergonan-1000 IU, n=7); 7 ewes served as controls (C). The embryos and a sample of each uterine horn flushing (UHF) were collected on day 5 (day of intrauterine artificial insemination = day 0), at slaughter. Embryo quality was evaluated stereoscopically. PAA, α-mannosidase activity and β-N-acetyloglucosaminidase (β-NAGASE) activity were determined spectrophotometrically. Progesterone and estradiol-17β concentrations were determined using radioimmunoassay. No significant differences were noticed between the two superovulation treatments, so data were pooled. In UHF of SOV ewes, PAA and α-mannosidase activity were significantly higher (P<0.05) and β-NAGASE activity significantly lower (P<0.01). Progesterone and estradiol-17β concentrations were also significantly higher (P<0.05). Positive linear relationships (P<0.01) were noticed between PAA and the number of embryos or the number of high quality embryos collected. In conclusion, superovulation affects steroid concentrations and enzyme activities in the uterine luminal fluid of ewes.