Supplementation of equine early spring transitional follicles with luteinizing hormone stimulates follicle growth but does not restore steroidogenic activity.
ABSTRACT This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that supplementation of growing follicles with LH during the early spring transitional period would promote the development of steroidogenically active, dominant follicles with the ability to respond to an ovulatory dose of hCG. Mares during early transition were randomly assigned to receive a subovulatory dose of equine LH (in the form of a purified equine pituitary fraction) or saline (transitional control; n = 7 mares per group) following ablation of all follicles >15 mm. Treatments were administered intravenously every 12 h from the day the largest follicle of the post-ablation wave reached 20 mm until a follicle reached >32 mm, when an ovulatory dose of hCG (3000 IU) was given. Saline-treated mares during June and July were used as ovulatory controls. In a preliminary study, injection of this pituitary fraction (eLH) to anestrus mares was followed by an increase in circulating levels of LH (P < 0.01) but not FSH (P > 0.6). Administration of eLH during early transition stimulated the growth of the dominant follicle (Group x Day, P < 0.00001), which attained diameters similar to the dominant follicle in ovulatory controls (P > 0.1). In contrast, eLH had no effect on the diameter of the largest subordinate follicle or the number of follicles >10 mm during treatment (P > 0.3). The numbers of mares that ovulated in response to hCG in transitional control, transitional eLH and ovulatory control groups (2 of 2, 3 of 5 and 7 of 7, respectively) were not significantly different (P > 0.1). However, after hCG-induced ovulation, all transitional mares returned to an anovulatory state. Circulating estradiol levels increased during the experimental period in ovulatory controls but not in transitional eLH or transitional control groups (Group x Day, P = 0.013). In addition, although progesterone levels increased after ovulation in transitional control and transitional eLH groups, levels in these two groups were lower than in the ovulatory control group after ovulation (Group, P = 0.045). In conclusion, although LH supplementation of early transitional waves beginning after the largest follicle reached 20 mm promoted growth of ovulatory-size follicles, these follicles were developmentally deficient as indicated by their reduced steroidogenic activity.
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ABSTRACT: Relatively little is known about the physiological roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) during follicular development. Previous evidence from in vitro studies suggests specific roles for a subset of miRNAs, including miR-21, miR-23a, miR-145, miR-503, miR-224, miR-383, miR-378, miR-132, and miR-212, in regulating ovarian follicle development. The objective of this study was to gain insight on the involvement of these miRNAs during follicle maturation. Follicular fluid was aspirated from dominant follicles (>32 mm) during the ovulatory season (July to October) and the anovulatory season (January to March) in each of 5 mares, and the levels of steroids, IGF1, and miRNAs were analyzed by immunoassays and quantitative PCR. Levels of progesterone, testosterone, and IGF1 were lower (P ≤ 0.05) in anovulatory than in ovulatory follicles. Relative to ovulatory follicles, anovulatory follicles had higher (P < 0.05) mean levels of miR-21, miR-23b, miR-378, and miR-202 and tended to have higher (P = 0.06) levels of miR-145. Levels of miR-224 and miR-383 could not be detected in follicular fluid. These novel results indicate a physiological association between increases in follicular miRNA levels and seasonal anovulation in mares; further studies should elucidate the precise involvement of miR-21, miR-23b, miR-145, miR-378, and miR-202 in follicle maturation in the mare.Domestic animal endocrinology 07/2013; · 1.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Horses (Equus caballus) belong to the group of seasonally polyoestrous mammals. Oestrous cycles typically start with increasing daylight length after winter, but mares can differ greatly in the timing of onset of regular oestrus cycles. Here we test whether spatial proximity to a stallion also plays a role. Twenty-two anoestrous mares were either exposed to one of two stallions (without direct physical contact) or not exposed (controls) under experimental conditions during two consecutive springs (February-April). Ovarian activity was monitored via transrectal ultrasound and stallion’s direct contact time with each mare was determined three times per week for one hour each. We found that mares exposed to a stallion ovulated earlier and more often during the observational period than mares that were not exposed to stallions. Neither stallion identity nor direct contact time, mare age, body condition, size of her largest follicle at the onset of the experiment, or parasite burden significantly affected the onset of cyclicity. In conclusion, the timing of oestrous cycles and cycle frequency, i.e. crucial aspects of female reproductive strategy, strongly depend on how the mares perceive their social environment. Exposing mares to the proximity of a stallion can therefore be an alternative to, for example, light programs or elaborated hormonal therapies to start the breeding season earlier and to increase the number of oestrous cycles in horses.Theriogenology 07/2014; · 1.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous evidence from in vitro studies suggests specific roles for a subset of miRNAs, including miR-21, miR-23a, miR-145, miR-503, miR-224, miR-383, miR-378, miR-132 and miR-212, in regulating ovarian follicle development. The objective of this study was to determine changes in the levels of these miRNAs in relation to follicle selection, maturation and ovulation in the monovular equine ovary. In Experiment 1, follicular fluid was aspirated during ovulatory cycles from the dominant (DO) and largest subordinate (S) follicles of an ovulatory wave, and the dominant (DA) follicle of a mid-cycle anovulatory wave (n=6 mares). Follicular fluid levels of progesterone and estradiol were lower (P<0.01) in S follicles than in DO follicles, whereas mean levels of IGF1 were lower (P<0.01) in S and DA follicles than in DO follicles. Relative to DO and DA follicles, S follicles had higher (P≤0.01) follicular fluid levels of miR-145 and miR-378. In Experiment 2, follicular fluid and granulosa cells were aspirated from dominant follicles before (DO) and 24h after (L) administration of an ovulatory dose of hCG (n=5 mares/group). Relative to DO follicles, L follicles had higher follicular fluid levels of progesterone (P=0.05) and lower granulosa cell levels of CYP19A1 and LHCGR (P<0.005). Levels of miR-21, miR-132, miR-212 and miR-224 were increased (P<0.05) in L follicles; this was associated with reduced expression of the putative miRNA targets, PTEN, RASA1 and SMAD4. These novel results may indicate a physiological involvement of miR-21, miR-145, miR-224, miR-378, miR-132 and miR-212 in the regulation of cell survival, steroidogenesis and differentiation during follicle selection and ovulation in the monovular ovary.Reproduction 06/2013; · 3.26 Impact Factor