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ACTH administration during formation of preovulatory follicles impairs steroidogenesis and angiogenesis in association with ovulation failure in lactating cows

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... Seven days later, cows received the last two doses of PGF 2a (150 mg D-cloprostenol), 12 h apart, to ensure luteolysis. Animals from the ACTH-treated group were administered subcutaneous injections of 100 IU ACTH (ACTHELEA; Laboratorios ELEA) every 12 h (at 0700 and 1900 hours each day) from Day 15 to Day 18 of the protocol, according to previous studies (Amweg et al. 2013;Biran et al. 2015). Animals in the control group were administered saline solution subcutaneously (Fig. 1). ...
... The increase in plasma and FF cortisol concentrations confirms a different hormone profile in cows treated with ACTH. These results are in agreement with those reported previously in heifers (Ribadu et al. 2000), postpartum cows (Gwazdauskas et al. 1972;Biran et al. 2015), non-lactating cows (Alam et al. 1986), ovariectomised cows (Hein and Allrich 1992) and ACTH-induced cystic ovarian disease models developed in cattle (Amweg et al. 2013). Plasma progesterone concentrations were higher in ACTH-treated than control cows at 48 h after administration (Day 17). ...
... Plasma progesterone concentrations were higher in ACTH-treated than control cows at 48 h after administration (Day 17). Different studies have shown that ACTH treatment during the preovulatory period increases serum progesterone concentrations (Hein and Allrich 1992;Ribadu et al. 2000;Brandt et al. 2009;Biran et al. 2015). In this sense, it has been previously reported that subluteal concentrations of progesterone suppress the LH preovulatory peak, and consequently ovulation, in dairy cattle (Hatler et al. 2008;Díaz et al. 2015). ...
Article
Cattle undergo numerous environmental and management stressors that reduce fertility and affect ovulation. The extracellular matrix of the follicle wall can be altered by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), the activities of which are regulated by interleukins and tissue-specific inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), especially during ovulation. The aims of the present study were to: (1) evaluate changes in the hormone milieu, the localisation and activity of MMP2 and MMP9 and the localisation of MMP14, TIMP1 and TIMP2 in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) during the preovulatory period in cows; and (2) determine the direct effects of ACTH on the mRNA expression of MMP2 and MMP9 in the cultured follicle wall of bovine ovaries obtained from an abattoir. 100IU ACTH was administered during pro-oestrus every 12h until ovariectomy, which was performed before ovulation. Cortisol concentrations in the plasma and follicular fluid (FF) of preovulatory follicles were higher in ACTH-treated than control cows. Progesterone presented subluteal concentrations in plasma of ACTH-treated cows (P<0.05). MMP2 immunostaining and activity in ovaries were higher in ACTH-treated than control cows (P<0.05), whereas MMP9 immunostaining was similar between the two groups. However, unlike in control cows, MMP9 activity was absent in the FF of ACTH-treated cows. These results suggest that the administration of ACTH during the preovulatory period in cows could cause changes that culminate in modifications in the content and activation of MMPs and TIMPs in the ovary, which could interfere with the ovulation process.
... Stress can interfere with reproductive function at all levels of the reproductive axis, inhibit sexual desire, reward, and mating behavior at the brain level, especially in the ventral tegmental area, interfering with the release of GnRH pulse generator in the hypothalamus as well as LH and FSH release from the anterior pituitary (100). Different stressors are known to activate different pathways at different duration to affect our health, and the stress adaptation response is affected by the dominant role of certain sex steroids in the circulation (101). Studies have revealed that acute stress can inhibit the HPO axis by inhibiting the secretion of GnRH, thereby inhibiting the release of pituitary LH in female mice (102). ...
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The human endometrium plays a vital role in providing the site for embryo implantation and maintaining the normal development and survival of the embryo. Recent studies have shown that stress is a common factor for the development of unexplained reproductive disorders. The nonreceptive endometrium and disturbed early maternal-fetal interaction might lead to infertility including the repeated embryo implantation failure and recurrent spontaneous abortion, or late pregnancy complications, thereby affecting the quality of life as well as the psychological status of the affected individuals. Additionally, psychological stress might also adversely affect female reproductive health. In recent years, several basic and clinical studies have tried to investigate the harm caused by psychological stress to reproductive health, however, the mechanism is still unclear. Here, we review the relationship between psychological stress and endometrial dysfunction, and its consequent effects on female infertility to provide new insights for clinical therapeutic interventions in the future.
... The treatment of ACTH animals involved repeated administrations of 2 ml ACTH solution (100 IU Synacthen Depot, Alfasigma S.p.A., Milano, Italy). The dose was chosen based on dose-response curves and results already described in previous studies using this ACTH dose in cattle (Dobson et al., 2000;Biran et al., 2015) and pigs (Otten et al., 2004;Backus et al., 2013). Control animals received repeated injections of 2 ml saline. ...
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Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress and induces the release of cortisol, which is commonly used as an indicator in stress and animal welfare research. In recent years, hair cortisol concentration (HCC) gained increasing importance as a promising retrospective indicator for stress in animals. Thus, the aim of our study was to validate HCC as a potential indicator of increased endogenous cortisol release in cattle and pigs by repeated ACTH administrations followed by cortisol analysis in different hair types. For this purpose, 34 cattle and 38 gilts were treated either with repeated i.m. injections of ACTH or saline every second day over a period of 4 weeks. Saliva samples were taken before and after injections once a week from selected animals to verify the endogenous cortisol response. At the end of the treatment (week 4) and after 8 and 12 weeks, samples of natural and regrown hair were taken from the caudo-dorsal region of the back and analyzed for cortisol concentrations. In addition, natural hair was sampled after 12 weeks and cut into segments prior to analysis. Treatment with ACTH revealed a significant increase in salivary cortisol after application in both species, although this increase was attenuated in pigs compared to cattle. In week 4, HCCs were significantly elevated in natural and regrown hair of ACTH-treated animals. In cattle, HCCs significantly increased after ACTH treatment in natural, regrown and segmental hair compared with control animals, indicating that HCC may be a promising indicator of stress, as cortisol levels in all hair types reflected the preceding period with increased cortisol release. In pigs, there were no differences in HCCs between treatments. This may be caused by the lower systemic cortisol response in pigs, but seasonally reduced hair growth and external cross-contamination of hair by saliva and urine under commercial husbandry conditions may also interfere with the validity of HCC in this species.
... Although the underlying mechanism is not entirely clear, stress-induced alteration in adrenal hormone secretion can cause these anovulation and ovarian pathologies [4]. Stressors and administration of ACTH throughout preovulatory follicle development alters follicular steroidogenesis in association with impaired angiogenesis, thus suggesting the mechanism underlying ovulation failure and the formation of persistent or cystic follicles under stress [36][37][38]. Hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) plays a prominent role in mediating the effect of stressors on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, and in coordinating the endocrine, autonomic, behavioral and immune responses to stress [39]. Promising results regarding reducing stress measures can be obtained using the new class of peptide and nonpeptide antagonists of CRH receptors. ...
... In the present study, VEGFA-164 protein was immunolocalized in the GC and TC of ovaries from all the groups evaluated, suggesting that VEGFA-164 is needed in both cell layers to maintain follicular growth. Similarly, other authors detected this growth factor within the GC and TC of bovine follicles [6,14,33,57,58]. Shimizu et al. [2] also demonstrated that VEGF can act as a factor of survival for the GC and thus suppress the atresia of antral follicles. ...
Article
Cystic ovaries (CO) characterize a disorder frequently found in dairy cattle. However, despite the contributions by several researchers, the mechanism that leads to ovulatory failure has not yet been completely elucidated. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the mRNA expression of bovine vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA)-164, VEGFA-164b and VEGF receptors (VEGFR1 and VEGFR2) by real-time PCR and protein expression by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and Western blot in follicular fluid from dairy cows with spontaneous CO and in an experimental model of follicular persistence induced by prolonged treatment with progesterone. Results showed that both VEGFA isoforms and receptors were coexpressed in granulosa and theca interna cells and in follicular fluid of ovaries from all the groups evaluated. VEGFA-164, VEGFA-164b and VEGFR2 protein expression was higher in theca cells of persistent follicles from group P0 (expected time of ovulation) than in those from dominant follicles (as reference structure) from the control group (p < 0.05). Also, VEGFA-164 expression was higher in theca cells of cysts than in those of dominant follicles of the control group (p < 0.05). In follicular fluid, VEGFA-164 expression was higher in persistent follicles from group P5 (5 days of follicular persistence) than in the control, P0 and P15 groups, and higher in cysts than in dominant follicles from the control group (p < 0.05). This study provides evidence of an altered expression of VEGFA-164, VEGFA-164b and VEGFR2 during the formation of persistent follicles and cysts in cows. Together, these results evidence that early development of CO in cows is concurrent with an altered expression of these growth factors and that these alterations may contribute to the follicular persistence, angiogenic dysregulation and ovulatory failure found in cows with follicular cysts.
... One possible explanation for this fact is that the glucocorticoids may impair ovarian steroidogenesis, inhibiting the biosynthesis of steroids in granulosa cells, probably through decreasing the expression of StAR protein (Ben-Rafall, Benadiva, Garcia, & Flickinger, 1988;Huang & Li, 2001). In cattle, during induction of stress by ACTH administration, there was a decrease in the expression of P450 aromatase and CYP17 enzyme, reducing the production of estradiol and androstenedione (Biran, Braw-Tal, Gendelman, Lavon, & Roth, 2015), and therefore contributing to the reduction of follicle viability. The data from the current study were consistent with previous in vivo studies on the effect of cortisol caused by the stress. ...
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the immunolocalization for glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) in goat ovarian follicles and the effect of cortisol on in vitro development of preantral follicles. Goat ovarian fragments were cultured for 7 days under different cortisol concentrations (0, 1, 5 and 10 ng/ml). Before and after culture, the protein expression of NR3C1 was analyzed in ovarian tissue by immunohistochemical analysis. Moreover, the endpoints follicular morphology, viability, activation as well as follicular and oocyte diameter were also analyzed. The NR3C1 was strongly expressed in oocytes of primordial and antral follicles. A progressive increase of immunostaining for NR3C1 in granulosa cells from primordial to antral follicles was observed regardless of the treatment. After in vitro culture, it was observed a significant reduction in the rate of normal preantral follicles rate in the 10 ng/ml cortisol treatment when compared to the other treatments. Moreover, follicular and oocyte diameter significantly decreased in all treatments (cortisol 0, 1, 5 and 10 ng/ml) compared to the fresh control. After culture, the activation rate significantly increased when the follicles were exposed to 1, 5 and 10 ng/ml cortisol compared to the fresh control. In conclusion, it was observed the presence of NR3C1 in the oocyte and granulosa cells in all follicular categories, except in granulosa cells of primordial follicles. The in vitro culture showed that high cortisol concentration (10 ng/ml) exerts a deleterious effect on follicular survival. Keywords: Caprine, Cortisol, NR3C1, Preantral follicles, Stress
... Different stressors activate different pathways for varying duration while the stress adaptive response is influenced by the predominance of certain sex steroids in the circulation. (Biran et al., 2015). The most sensitive of the reproductive processes are ovulation, sexual behavior and embryo implantation. ...
Article
Stress is one of the commonest and underappreciated causes of reproductive frailty in women. The stress system leads to adaptive responses via mobilization of hormonal systems. Adaptability and resistance to stress are fundamental to life. The response to stressors depends on the type of stressor, the timing and duration of stress, the genetic predisposition, personality characteristics, and the way of coping with stress. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has a direct inhibitory action on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis at multiple levels. Acute and chronic stress impairs reproduction, eventually acting on varying mechanisms. Undernutrition, over-training, and psychological stress contribute to hypothalamic amenorrhea via reduced HPO activity. In utero stress exposure is a significant predictor of subsequent adult telomere length. Some of the metabolic consequences of intrauterine growth restriction can be mitigated by ensuring early appropriate catch-up growth, while avoiding excessive weight gain if relative hypercortisolism is not installed. The effect of maternal stress on fetuses regarding fetal HPA axis responsiveness (increased or decreased) remains under investigation. Maternal stress and depression are associated with structural and functional changes of brain parts such as hippocampus. In utero stress modifies epigenetically components of the HPA axis which can be transmitted transgenerationally.
... Similarly to estradiol, androstenedione secretion in heat stressed cows is also compromised [122]. The exposure of lactating Holstein cows to heat stress for 12 h decreased androstenedione production of cultured thecal tissue isolated from preovulatory follicles collected 28 days after heat stress [44,129]. Reduced secretion of androstenedione can indirectly compromises fertility because it serves as a substrate for the synthesis of estradiol. ...
Article
In the Northern Hemisphere, from June to September and in the Southern Hemisphere from December to March, there are periods of reduced fertility (sub-fertility) in dairy cows that are described as summer infertility. Several factors contribute to sub-fertility during this time, such as ambient temperature, humidity and photoperiod. During the warm season there is a reduction in feed intake that may compromise the energy balance of the cow and/or induce an imbalance in the activity of the hypothalamo-hypophyseal-ovarian axis. These factors reduce the reproductive performance of the cow and compromise the quality of oocytes, embryos and corpora lutea. This paper reviews current knowledge on the metabolic and endocrine mechanisms that induce summer infertility and describe their effects on follicle, oocyte and embryo development in dairy cows.
... The mRNA and protein levels of these enzymes were related to the biosynthesis and transfer of androgens. In previous literature, 3β-HSD was shown to convert pregnenolone into P 4 and transfer this hormone outside the mitochondria, while P450c17 was shown to produce ASD via 17-hydroxylation of P 4 [33]. The results of the immunohistochemical staining in our study revealed positive signals of P450c17 and 3β-HSD distributed in theca cells, and these positive signals were reduced in the ACTH group compared to the control group. ...
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Background: Stress has been proved to impair the porcine reproduction soundly. Endocrine disruption, which is closely related to the persistent follicles, is possibly one of the results of stress, although the mechanism is unclear. Since the expression of luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) in ovarian follicular wall and concentrations of steroid hormone in follicular fluid are related to the development of persistent follicles, this study is designed to evaluate the effect of administered adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) to weaned pigs on their ovarian steroidogenesis capacity and LHR expression. Methods: Ten multiparous sows were weaned and randomly divided into two groups (n = 5 each). Sows received 1 IU/kg ACTH (ACTH group) or saline (control group) every 8 h from days 3-9 after jugular vein intubation. Blood samples were collected throughout the experiment, and ovaries were collected after slaughter on day 10. Follicular fluid (FF) was used to determine the steroid hormone concentrations. The ovarian follicle wall was obtained and stored in liquid nitrogen to detect mRNA levels. Results: The plasma cortisol concentration was significantly (P < 0.01) elevated after ACTH injection. The estradiol (E2) and androstenedione (ASD) concentrations in FF were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the ACTH group than in the control group. The LHR, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), cytochrome P450 aromatase (P450arom), and cytochrome P450 17a-hydroxylase (P450c17) mRNA levels were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced in the ACTH group. The steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) level and cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage (P450scc) was lower in the ACTH group than in the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Immunostaining results revealed 3β-HSD,P450c17, and LHR expression in theca cells, and P450arom expression in granulosa cells. Immunohistochemical staining showed significant differences in the distribution of 3β-HSD, P450c17, LHR, and P450arom between the two groups. Conclusions: These findings indicated that ACTH significantly diminished the LHR expression and steroidogenesis capacity of the ovaries of weaned sows.
... In vivo studies are even fewer. In cows, administration of ACTH increased plasma cortisol concentration while reducing 17β -estradiol concentrations in the follicular fluids 40 . In the protogynous Wrasse, cortisol administration induces sex change from ovary to testis and the plasma 17β -estradiol level was significantly lower in the cortisol treatment group than in the control group 41 . ...
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Previous studies indicate that stress damages oocytes with increased secretion of glucorticoids. However, although injection of female mice with cortisol decreased oocyte competence, exposure of mouse oocytes directly to physiological or stress-induced concentrations of glucorticoids did not affect oocyte maturation and embryo development. This study has explored the mechanisms by which glucocorticoids impair oocyte competence. Female mice were injected with cortisol and the effects of cortisol-injection on oocyte competence, ovarian cell apoptosis and Fas/FasL activation were observed. The results showed that cortisol-injection decreased (a) oocyte developmental potential, (b) the E2/P4 ratio in serum and ovaries, and (c) expression of insulin-like growth factor 1, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and glucocorticoid receptor in mural granulosa cells (MGCs), while increasing levels of (a) cortisol in serum and ovaries, (b) apoptosis in MGCs and cumulus cells (CCs), (c) FasL secretion in ovaries and during oocyte maturation in vitro, and (d) Fas in MGCs, CCs and oocytes. The detrimental effects of cortisol-injection on oocyte competence and apoptosis of MGCs and CCs were significantly relieved when the gld (generalized lymphoproliferative disorder) mice harboring FasL mutations were observed. Together, the results suggested that glucocorticoids impair oocyte competence by triggering apoptosis of ovarian cells via activating the Fas system.
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Cystic ovarian disease (COD) is an important cause of reproductive failure in dairy cattle. The main aim of this review is to discuss some aspects related to inflammation and angiogenesis that seem to be involved in the development of follicular cysts in domestic animals, with special emphasis on the bovine species, in an attempt to elucidate the relationship between these two processes in the early stages of persistence and in the development of bovine COD. We describe the changes in the expression of cytokines and angiogenic factors that seem to generate disturbances in the intraovarian component underlying the aberrant persistence of follicular cysts. Results show that pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines behave as regulators of angiogenesis through direct and indirect effects, like overexpression of pro-angiogenic factors, particularly in bovine ovarian cells from follicular cysts and persistent follicles. We conclude that, in dairy cattle, an imbalance in the expression of cytokines and pro-angiogenic growth factors related to ovulation and the processes associated with it would contribute to follicular persistence and to the recurrent appearance of COD.
Article
Stressors activate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, reducing fertility by interfering with the mechanisms that regulate the timing of events within the follicular phase of the estrous cycle. In the HPA axis, melanocortin 2 receptor (MC2R) mediates responses to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in concert with melanocortin receptor accessory protein 2 (MRAP2). The aims of the present study were: (1) to evaluate the effects of ACTH administered in cows in the preovulatory period on the expression of the MC2R/MRAP2 complex in the dominant follicle; and (2) to analyze the involvement of Extracellular signal Regulated Kinase 1 (ERK1) signaling in the activation of MC2R and the expression of key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of glucocorticoids (GCs) in the dominant follicle. To this end, 100 IU ACTH was administered to Holstein cows from a local dairy farm during pro-estrus every 12 hours for four days until ovariectomy, which was performed before ovulation. Protein immunostaining of MC2R was higher in the dominant follicles of ACTH-treated cows (p < 0.05). Also, Western blot analysis showed higher activation of the ERK1 signaling pathway in ACTH-treated cows (p < 0.05). Finally, immunohistochemistry performed in the dominant follicles of ACTH-treated cows detected higher expression of CYP17A1 and CYP21A2 (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the bovine ovary is able to respond locally to ACTH as a consequence of stress altering the expression of relevant steroidogenic enzymes. The results also confirm that the complete GC biosynthesis pathway is present in bovine dominant follicle and therefore GCs could be produced locally.
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During follicular development, a few dominant follicles develop to large antral dominant follicles, whereas the remaining follicles undergo atretic degeneration. Because vascularization on the follicular surface is a morphological feature of dominant follicles, we previously classified these follicles as vascularized follicles (VFs) and non-VFs (NVFs). In NVFs, progesterone producing genes were expressed similarly to that in VFs; however, the progesterone concentration in follicular fluid was low in large NVFs. Therefore, we estimated that progesterone is converted to cortisol, which induces the loss of follicular functions. In this study, we comparative analyzed the expression of genes for progesterone converting enzymes (Cytochrome(CYP)11B1, CYP21A2, Hydroxysteroid(HSD)11B2) and cortisol receptor (NR3C1) in VF and NVF granulosa cells. In NVFs, expression of cortisol producing genes (CYP11B1 and CYP21A2) was higher than in VFs. Expression of the gene for the cortisol metabolizing enzyme HSD11B2 in NVFs was significantly lower than in VFs. In NVFs, accompanied by increasing cortisol concentration in follicular fluid, apoptosis of granulosa and cumulus cells was observed. Cultivation with FSH and metyrapone (a CYP11B1 inhibitor) of NVF cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) inhibited apoptosis of cumulus cells and induced cumulus cell proliferation and oocyte maturation. Cortisol induced CYP11B1 and CYP21A2 expression, whereas FSH induced HSD11B2 mRNA expression in VF granulosa cells in the presence of cortisol. Furthermore, an addition of 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid (18-GA; a HSD17B2 inhibitor) to cortisol and FSH-containing medium increased apoptosis of VF granulosa cells. These results suggested that cortisol is a stimulatory factor that induces follicular atresia; further, inhibition of cortisol production by FSH might increase the number of healthy preovulatory follicles in pigs.
Chapter
The present chapter aims at identifying the most common practices and assessing the impact, either positive or negative, of reproductive technologies on animal welfare. The application of any reproductive technology to farm animals implies handling and often sorting and restraining. These practices should be conducted quietly in order to prevent excitement and fright and keep the animals calm. In addition, the removal of the animal from the herd (generally temporary for females and permanent for males) and the consequent social isolation may also impair animal welfare. Most of the reproductive technologies (e.g., estrus detection) show a mild effect on the animals and in several cases, habituation may occur. Conversely, other technologies may have marked direct detrimental effects (e.g., pain induced by electroejaculation) and/or indirectly induce negative emotional states (e.g., through restraining and isolation). However, some technologies have been developed with the primary aim of increasing animal welfare, as directly linked to farm profits. In particular, uterus and fetal monitoring by allowing the prediction of calving may also allow a prompt intervention in case of dystocia. Nevertheless, also in these cases preventive measures, such as the application of appropriate breeding programs including calving ease to reduce the incidence of dystocia and cesarean sections, should be preferred for an effective improvement of animal welfare.
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The development and sustained function of the corpus luteum (CL) after ovulation are important for embryo implantation and early pregnancy maintenance in mammals. Sows raised in commercial group-housing systems are vulnerable to stress and have elevated blood cortisol levels; therefore, it is pivotal to study the influence of increased cortisol levels in circulation on the reproduction of sows. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether stress induced by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) administration before estrus affected either the development or the functions of the newly formed CL in sows. The results showed that the gene expression levels of the P450 cholesterol side chain cleavage (P450scc) and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) proteins of newly formed CLs were lower in the ACTH-treated sows than in the controls, whereas the expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were significantly downregulated (P < 0.05). Moreover, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)164 gene expression levels were significantly lower in the ACTH group than in the controls (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that ACTH-induced stress impairs vascularization, and affects the steroidogenesis of newly developed CLs in sows.
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The objective was to compare ovarian steroids and expression of mRNAs encoding cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage, cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase, cytochrome P450 aromatase, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase Δ⁴,Δ⁵ isomerase, LH, and FSH receptors and estrogen receptor-β in ovaries of cows with dominant and nondominant ovarian follicular cysts and in normal dominant follicles. Estradiol-17β, progesterone, and androstenedione concentrations were determined in follicular fluid using specific RIAs. Dominant cysts were larger than young cysts or dominant follicles, whereas nondominant cysts were intermediate. Estradiol-17β (ng/ml) and total steroids (ng/follicle) were higher in dominant cysts than in dominant follicles. Expression of LH receptor and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNAs was higher in granulosa cells of dominant cysts than in dominant follicles. Nondominant cysts had higher follicular concentrations of progesterone, lower estradiol-17β concentrations, and lower expression of steroidogenic enzyme, gonadotropin receptor, and estrogen receptor-β mRNAs than other groups. In summary, increased expression of LH receptor and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNAs in granulosa and increased follicular estradiol-17β concentrations were associated with dominant cysts compared to dominant follicles. Study of cysts at known developmental stages is useful in identifying alterations in follicular steroidogenesis.
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Physiological perturbations of bovine follicle-enclosed oocytes during the lengthy period of follicular development can lead to reduced oocyte developmental competence. It is suggested that heat stress-induced alterations in germinal vesicle (GV)-stage oocytes are further expressed in the transcriptional levels of genes involved in oocyte maturation and early embryonic development. Bovine oocytes were collected during cold (December-April) and hot (May-November) seasons, matured, fertilized, and cultured in vitro. The percentage of fertilized oocytes cleaving to the 2- to 4-cell stage was higher in the cold vs. hot season (89.0% ± 2.63% vs. 75% ± 2.63%, respectively; P < 0.05), as was the percentage of cleaved embryos further developing to blastocysts (26.6% ± 0.9% vs. 10.1% ± 1.8%, respectively; P < 0.05). Total RNA and poly(A) mRNA of oocytes and developing embryos were isolated and subjected to semiquantitative and real-time PCR for MOS, GDF9, and POU5F1 genes. In GV-stage oocytes, their mRNA levels did not differ between the seasons. However, following maturation, mRNA levels were higher in oocytes collected in the cold season (P < 0.05). In 4-cell-stage embryos, GDF9 and POU5F1 showed opposite mRNA patterns between seasons (higher and lower levels, respectively) in the hot season (P < 0.05). In both 8-cell-stage embryos and blastocysts, POU5F1 expression was lower during the hot season (P < 0.05). Exposing the ovarian pool of oocytes to environmental stress appears to impair maternal mRNA storage and/or the mechanism of transcription renewal, in turn affecting embryo gene expression before and after embryonic genome activation. Such impairment might partially explain the carry-over effect of summer heat stress on dairy cow conception rates.
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At approximately 8.5 mm in diameter, the future dominant follicle is "selected" for continued growth in cattle. In the present study, cows were treated with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor antagonist, acyline, just before follicle selection (near 7.8 mm) to investigate the role of LH in changing mRNA concentrations during selection of a dominant follicle. The ovaries containing the expected dominant follicle (EDF; first largest follicle) and expected largest subordinate follicle (ESF) were removed after 12 or 24 h of treatment. Real-time PCR was used to determine mRNA concentrations. ELISA was used to measure testosterone and 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) and radioimmunoassay to measure androstenedione (A(4)) in follicular fluid. Concentrations of E(2) were greater in EDF than in ESF of untreated cows near the time of follicle selection (12 h) or at 12 h after selection (24 h). Testosterone, E(2), and A(4) were all dramatically decreased by acyline treatment at both times. In theca cells, acyline treatment reduced CYP17A1 (P450 17alpha) in EDF and STAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) in both EDF and ESF but did not alter CYP11A1 (P450scc). In granulosa cells (GCs), LHCGR (luteinizing hormone [LH] receptor) was much greater in EDF than in ESF at both time of selection (739% greater) and 12 h after selection (2837% greater) and was decreased by acyline in EDF (87% decrease). The mRNA for CYP19A1 (cytochrome P450 aromatase) and PAPPA (pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A) tended to be greater in EDF than in ESF at follicle selection, and both mRNAs were much greater at 12 h after selection, with acyline significantly decreasing PAPPA mRNA after 24 h of treatment. The mRNA for FSHR (follicle-stimulating hormone receptor) was not different in EDF versus ESF and was not altered by acyline. Thus, induction of LHCGR mRNA in GCs is an early event during the follicle selection process, and surprisingly, expression of LHCGR mRNA is dependent on circulating LH. Production of follicular A(4), testosterone, and E(2) are also acutely related to LH but due to changes in expression of STAR and CYP17A1 in TC.
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The objective of the present study was to characterize expression of mRNAs encoding FSH and LH receptors during follicular development and at different stages of the first follicular wave in cattle. Following estrus, groups of heifers (3-5 per group) were ovariectomized on the day of initiation of the first follicular wave (as determined by ultrasonography; Day 0), or on Days 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 after initiation of the first wave. FSH and LH receptor mRNAs were detected within follicles > or = 4 mm and in some smaller follicles by in situ hybridization and were quantified by image analysis. FSH receptor mRNA was expressed in granulosa cells of all growing follicles, starting in some follicles with only one layer of granulosa cells. Irrespective of day of the follicular wave, the level of expression of FSH receptor mRNA in granulosa cells of healthy antral follicles ranging from 0.5 to 14 mm in diameter did not vary significantly with follicular size (r = 0.02, p > 0.10). Expression of LH receptor mRNA was first observed in theca interna cells of follicles shortly after antral formation. Irrespective of day of the follicular wave, the levels of LH receptor mRNA in theca interna cells of healthy antral follicles ranging from 0.5 to 14 mm increased with follicular size (r = 0.39, p < 0.01). In granulosa cells, LH receptor mRNA was expressed only in healthy follicles > 9 mm in diameter and was first observed in the dominant follicles collected on Day 4. Expression of mRNA for LH receptor, but not for FSH receptor, changed (p < 0.01) with the stage of the first follicular wave.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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Ovarian follicular development in cattle is characterized by waves of growth during the prepubertal and postpartum periods and during estrous cycles. Each wave of follicular growth is characterized by recruitment of a cohort of follicles 4 to 5 mm in diameter. From the cohort, one follicle is selected for continued growth and becomes dominant. If luteolysis occurs during the growth phase of dominant follicles, final maturation and ovulation occurs. If luteolysis does not occur during the growing and maintenance phase of follicles, the fate is atresia. Changes in mRNA expression for the gonadotropin receptors (FSHr and LHr), key steroidogenic enzymes (cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage [P450scc], cytochrome P450 17alpha-hydroxylase-[P450c17], cytochrome P450 aromatase [P450arom], and 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase [3beta-HSD]), and growth factors (IGF-I and -II) and their binding proteins (IGFBP) have been associated with different stages of follicular growth and atresia. In general, expression of mRNA for the gonadotropin receptors, steroidogenic enzymes, and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) increase with progressive follicular development and is highest when dominant follicles approach maximum size. Expression of mRNA declines rapidly and becomes low or undetectable in atretic follicles. The IGF-I (granulosal cells) and IGF-II (thecal cells) are increased, whereas IGFBP-2 (granulosal cells) is reduced, in dominant follicles. Recruitment of a cohort of follicles is associated with initiation of expression of mRNA for P450scc and P450arom in granulosal cells. Selection of dominant follicles is associated with expression of mRNA for LHr and 3beta-HSD in granulosal cells. Thus, changes in gene expression likely are important to recruitment, selection, dominance, and atresia in ovarian follicles.
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Locally produced growth factors may have important modulatory roles in final ovarian follicular growth. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible participation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF2) in bovine follicles during final growth. Ovaries were collected from a slaughterhouse within 10-20 min after exsanguination. A classification of follicles into five groups (<0.5; >0.5-5; >5-20; >20-180; >180 ng/ml) was performed according to the follicular fluid (FF) oestradiol-17 beta content. For a better characterisation of classes the mRNA expressions of FSH receptor, LH receptor and aromatase cytochrome P450 in theca interna (TI) and granulosa cells (GC) were determined. Analysis of VEGF transcript by RT-PCR showed that GC and theca cells express predominantly the smallest isoforms (VEGF(121) and VEGF(165)). VEGF mRNA expression in both tissues (TI and GC) and VEGF protein concentration in total follicle tissue increased significantly (and correlated) with developmental stages of follicle growth. The expression of mRNA for VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1 and VEGFR-2 was very weak in GC, without any regulatory change during final follicle growth. In contrast, TI showed strong expression of mRNA for both receptors in all follicle classes examined. VEGF protein concentrations in FF increased significantly and continuously to maximum levels in preovulatory follicles. As shown by immunohistochemistry, VEGF protein was clearly localised in TI and GC of preovulatory follicles. FGF2 and FGF receptor (FGFR) mRNA expression in TI increased significantly during final growth of follicles. In contrast, the FGF2 and FGFR mRNA expression in GC was very weak and without any regulatory change during follicle growth. Histological observation revealed that FGF2 protein was localised in theca tissue (cytoplasm of endothelial cells and pericytes) but not in GC. Our results suggest that VEGF and FGF families are involved in the proliferation of capillaries that accompanies the selection of the preovulatory follicle resulting in an increased supply of nutrients and precursors, and therefore supporting the growth of the dominant follicle.
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Steroid hormone biosynthesis is acutely regulated by pituitary trophic hormones and other steroidogenic stimuli. This regulation requires the synthesis of a protein whose function is to translocate cholesterol from the outer to the inner mitochondrial membrane in steroidogenic cells, the rate-limiting step in steroid hormone formation. The steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein is an indispensable component in this process and is the best candidate to fill the role of the putative regulator. StAR is expressed in steroidogenic tissues in response to agents that stimulate steroid production, and mutations in the StAR gene result in the disease congenital lipoid adrenal hyperplasia, in which steroid hormone biosynthesis is severely compromised. The StAR null mouse has a phenotype that is essentially identical to the human disease. The positive and negative expression of StAR is sensitive to agents that increase and inhibit steroid biosynthesis respectively. The mechanism by which StAR mediates cholesterol transfer in the mitochondria has not been fully characterized. However, the tertiary structure of the START domain of a StAR homolog has been solved, and identification of a cholesterol-binding hydrophobic tunnel within this domain raises the possibility that StAR acts as a cholesterol-shuttling protein.
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The objective was to compare ovarian steroids and expression of mRNAs encoding cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage, cytochrome P450 17 alpha-hydroxylase, cytochrome P450 aromatase, 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase Delta(4),Delta(5) isomerase, LH, and FSH receptors and estrogen receptor-beta in ovaries of cows with dominant and nondominant ovarian follicular cysts and in normal dominant follicles. Estradiol-17 beta, progesterone, and androstenedione concentrations were determined in follicular fluid using specific RIAs. Dominant cysts were larger than young cysts or dominant follicles, whereas nondominant cysts were intermediate. Estradiol-17 beta (ng/ml) and total steroids (ng/follicle) were higher in dominant cysts than in dominant follicles. Expression of LH receptor and 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNAs was higher in granulosa cells of dominant cysts than in dominant follicles. Nondominant cysts had higher follicular concentrations of progesterone, lower estradiol-17 beta concentrations, and lower expression of steroidogenic enzyme, gonadotropin receptor, and estrogen receptor-beta mRNAs than other groups. In summary, increased expression of LH receptor and 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNAs in granulosa and increased follicular estradiol-17 beta concentrations were associated with dominant cysts compared to dominant follicles. Study of cysts at known developmental stages is useful in identifying alterations in follicular steroidogenesis.
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The authors evaluated the relationship between vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production, blood vessel extension, and steroidogenesis in small (<4 mm), medium (4-5 mm), and large (>5 mm) follicles isolated from gilts treated with eCG. VEGF and estradiol levels were measured in follicular fluid by an enzyme immunoassay and radioimmunoassay, respectively, and then each follicle wall was used to evaluate VEGF mRNA content and for the immunohistochemical analysis of blood vessels. VEGF production was low in small follicles (<3 ng/ml), high in large follicles (>10 ng/ml), and markedly differentiated in medium follicles; 44% exhibited values up to 15 ng/ml, whereas the levels never exceeded 3 ng/ml in the remaining aliquot. Medium follicles were then used as a model to investigate angiogenesis. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for VEGF mRNA demonstrated that granulosa cells represent the main component involved in the production of VEGF. The follicle wall, which presents two distinct concentric vessel networks, showed a vascular area (positive stained area/percent of field area) that was significantly wider in high VEGF follicles than in low VEGF follicles (2.54% +/- 0.58% vs. 1.29% +/- 0.58%, respectively). Medium follicles with high VEGF levels and extensive vascularization accumulated high estradiol levels (150-300 ng/ml), whereas follicles with low VEGF levels had basal estradiol levels that never exceeded 30 ng/ml. Early atretic medium-size follicles had undetectable levels of VEGF and estradiol paralleled by a marked reduction in blood vessel. The data presented propose an improved model for follicle dynamics in which the production of VEGF, stimulated by gonadotropin, creates the vascular conditions required for follicle growth and activity.
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The objective of this observational study was to evaluate the association between lameness, ovarian cysts, and fertility in lactating dairy cows. Data analysis of historical records from a 3000 Holstein farm was conducted. Sixty-five cows that became lame within 30 days postpartum were used as cases, and 130 nonlame cows served as controls. The outcome variables were incidence of ovarian cysts (OC, %), conception rate at first service (CRFS, %), overall pregnancy rate (PR, %), and calving to first service interval (CFSI, day), Incidence of OC and CRFS were analyzed by logistic regression, PR by survival analysis and CFSI by ANOVA. Lame cows had a lower CRFS (17.5% versus 42.6%) and higher incidence of OC (25.0% versus 11.1%) than controls (P<or=0.05). Calving to first service interval was not different between lame and control cows (P>0.05). There was a multicollinearity relationship between lameness and ovarian cysts. The results show that cows that became lame within the first 30 days postpartum were associated with a higher incidence of ovarian cysts, a lower likelihood of pregnancy, and lower fertility than control cows. Because this is an observational study it is not possible to conclude a cause-effect relationship.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the distribution pattern of von Willebrand factor (vWF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the healthy antral and atretic follicles of Philippine swamp buffaloes (SB) in comparison with Holstein-Friesian cows (HF). Paraffin sections of healthy follicles and atretic follicles at various stages were immunostained with vWF antibody and VEGF antibody. The density of vWF-positive capillary vessels in the theca interna significantly increased as atresia progressed in SB, whereas the density significantly decreased in late atretic follicles compared with advanced ones in HF. On the other hand, the area of vWF-positive capillary vessels in the theca interna significantly increased as atresia progressed in both SB and HF. Immunoreactions of VEGF in the granulosa cells (in all follicle types) were observed in both SB and HF. In the granulosa layer, a reduction in the VEGF immunoreaction was noted as follicles progressed from healthy to advanced atretic follicles in both animals. Granulosa cells (in both SB and HF) showed a higher immunopositive staining than theca cells. In the theca interna, VEGF immunostaining diminished as follicles progressed to the late atretic follicles in both animals. These results indicate that during atresia, changes of vWF expression are the opposite of VEGF expression in SB. Both vWF and VEGF are suggested to be associated with follicular atresia in SB.
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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms (VEGF 120 and VEGF 164) secreted by granulosa cells are involved in thecal angiogenesis during follicular development in the bovine ovary. However, whether the transcript of the VEGF120 and VEGF164 isoforms differs during follicular development in the ovary is still unknown. We first examined the gene expression of VEGF120, VEGF164, fms-like tyrosine kinase (Flt-1), and fetal liver kinase (Flk-1) in the granulosa cells (GCs) and theca cells (TCs) of pre-selection and post-selection follicles (PRF and POF respectively) from the bovine ovary. Then we examined the effects of FSH and estradiol (E2) on these factors in cultured bovine GCs. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was quantified using real-time PCR methods. The concentrations of E2 and P4 in the follicular fluid (FF) of the PRF and POF were estimated using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA). The concentrations of E2 and P4 in the FF were significantly higher in the POF than in the PRF. The ratio of E2/P4 in PRF and POF was 0.37 and 3.8, respectively. The expression levels of the VEGF120, VEGF164, and Flk-1 mRNAs in the GCs of POF with high E2 concentration were higher than those of PRF. The levels of the Flt-1 and Flk-1 mRNAs in the TCs were not different between PRF and POF. Since E2 in the FF of the POF used in the present study was high compared with the PRF, we examined the effects of E2 and FSH on the expression of the above genes using cultured GCs. Expression of VEGF120 mRNA was induced by a low concentration (1 ng/ml) of E2, whereas the levels of VEGF164 and Flk-1 mRNAs were not affected by E2. FSH stimulated the expression of the VEGF isoforms and Flk-1 genes. Moreover, the expression of those genes was enhanced when low E2 (1 ng/ml) was added to FSH. In conclusion, our data indicates that the VEGF isoforms have a follicle stage-dependent expression pattern. Thus, our results suggest that the expression of VEGF isoforms may be associated with characterization of the preovulatory phenotype during follicle development in the bovine ovary.
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The objective of this study was to develop a model for the study of abnormal ovarian follicles in cattle by treating heifers with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) (100 iu at 12 h intervals for 7 days, beginning on day 15 of the oestrous cycle). Cortisol concentrations increased (P < 0.05) within 24 h after beginning ACTH treatment and cortisol and progesterone concentrations remained elevated after cessation of ACTH treatment for 8 and 4 days, respectively. The pulses and surges of LH decreased during ACTH treatment, but FSH profiles were similar to those in controls and persistent or prolonged follicles were eventually observed in all heifers. In five heifers, prolonged dominant follicles ovulated after 10 days, whereas in six heifers, persistent follicular structures were present for 20 days, but ceased to secrete oestradiol after approximately 12 days. In the heifers with persistent follicular structures, new follicles emerged when the persistent follicle became non-oestrogenic. During the last 2 days of normal follicular growth, the concentration of oestradiol was greater than it was during prolonged or persistent follicle development (P < 0.05). There were no differences in the growth rates or maximum diameters of abnormal follicles that had different outcomes, but oestradiol concentrations were greater in prolonged follicles that ovulated compared with those follicles that persisted (P = 0.06). In conclusion, stimulation with ACTH resulted in a marked deviance from normal follicular activity. The aberrations were probably caused by the interruption of pulsatile secretion of LH (but not FSH) leading to decreased but prolonged oestradiol secretion.
Article
The objective of the present study was to characterize expression of mRNAs encoding FSH and LH receptors during follicular development and at different stages of the first follicular wave in cattle. Following estrus, groups of heifers (3-5 per group) were ovariectomized on the day of initiation of the first follicular wave (as determined by ultrasonography; Day 0), or on Days 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 after initiation of the first wave. FSH and LH receptor mRNAs were detected within follicles > or = 4 mm and in some smaller follicles by in situ hybridization and were quantified by image analysis. FSH receptor mRNA was expressed in granulosa cells of all growing follicles, starting in some follicles with only one layer of granulosa cells. Irrespective of day of the follicular wave, the level of expression of FSH receptor mRNA in granulosa cells of healthy antral follicles ranging from 0.5 to 14 mm in diameter did not vary significantly with follicular size (r = 0.02, p > 0.10). Expression of LH receptor mRNA was first observed in theca interna cells of follicles shortly after antral formation. Irrespective of day of the follicular wave, the levels of LH receptor mRNA in theca interna cells of healthy antral follicles ranging from 0.5 to 14 mm increased with follicular size (r = 0.39, p < 0.01). In granulosa cells, LH receptor mRNA was expressed only in healthy follicles > 9 mm in diameter and was first observed in the dominant follicles collected on Day 4. Expression of mRNA for LH receptor, but not for FSH receptor, changed (p < 0.01) with the stage of the first follicular wave.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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Ovarian follicular cysts and persistent follicles are follicular pathologies involved in reduced fertility of dairy cows. Two separate experiments were performed on high-yielding Holstein cows to characterize ovarian cyclicity and evaluate the developmental dynamics of follicle pathologies postpartum. In experiment 1, 58 cows were monitored by ultrasonography twice weekly from d 18±1 to 69±2 postpartum. First ovulation occurred 38±3, 27±2, 20±1, and 25±3 d postpartum in cows with 1 cycle (n=11), 2 cycles (n=21), 3 cycles (n=13), and 4 cycles (n=7), respectively. Follicular pathologies were developed in cows that were either acyclic (n=6) or had 1 or 2 cycles, but not in cows with more than 2 cycles. In experiment 2, 47 cows were monitored twice weekly from 10 d postpartum to second ovulation. Follicles ≥17 mm in diameter in 2 consecutive scans were aspirated, and concentrations of various hormones were measured. Cows were defined as cyclic (n=30; 64%) or with the potential to develop follicular pathology (n=17; 36%). Aspirated follicles (n=27) were classified into 3 main groups based on follicular growth rate, follicular diameter, and ovarian activity before and after follicular aspiration. Dominant follicles (n=4) were defined as large follicles (20 mm in diameter) with growth rate ≤1 mm/d and normal ovarian activity. Persistent follicles (n=6) had the same growth rate and diameter as the dominant follicles, but persisted at the same diameter for ≥10 d. Ovarian cysts (n=17) were defined as the largest follicular structures (19 to 32 mm in diameter), with abnormal growth rate (>1 mm/d) and abnormal ovarian activity. Single or turnover cysts did not differ in their growth parameters and were therefore combined and further classified according to follicular-fluid hormone concentrations. Estradiol-dominant cysts (n=7) were characterized by normal estradiol (284 to 659 ng/mL) and progesterone (20 to 113 ng/mL) concentrations, similar to those of the dominant follicle (554 to 993 ng/mL and 44 to 106 ng/mL, respectively). Progesterone-dominant cysts (n=5) were characterized by low estradiol (0.06 to 330 ng/mL) and high progesterone (586 to 3,288 ng/mL) concentrations. Low-steroidogenic active cysts (n=5) were characterized by low concentrations of both estradiol (23 to 61 ng/mL) and progesterone (17 to 205 ng/mL). Characterization of spontaneously forming cysts might enable definition of the formation of ovarian follicular pathologies in postpartum cows.
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This paper briefly reviews recent data and concepts on the development and mitigation of infection and inflammation in the reproductive tract of dairy cows during the first 2 mo after calving. The incidence of metritis is typically between 10 and 20%, of clinical endometritis or purulent vaginal discharge (PVD) approximately 15%, and of subclinical or cytological endometritis a further 15%. Worse postpartum negative energy balance is associated with more severe or prolonged uterine inflammation. Changes in feed intake, expression of genes for pro-inflammatory cytokines, notably interleukin (IL) 1, IL6 and IL8, circulating concentrations of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) or nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), and innate immune function precede both metritis and endometritis by several weeks. Infections with Escherichia coli and Arcanobacterium pyogenes are associated with both metritis and PVD. There are new data to suggest that specific virulence factors in E. coli associated with adherence may be important in metritis and PVD. Cytological endometritis and PVD are overlapping but largely distinct conditions, and there are emerging data that cervicitis exists both concurrent with and separate from endometritis. Much remains to be learned about what initiates and sustains harmful inflammation of the reproductive tract. Such information is necessary to develop effective treatments for the various forms of disease and, more importantly, to develop means to prevent endometritis and cervicitis. In particular, vaccination against specific uterine pathogens and interventions to modulate innate immune response appear to be important avenues for investigation. Presently, commonly recommended best management practices for cows in the transition period are likely to be helpful to mitigate the risk of reproductive disease.
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Fertility in dairy cows has declined over the past five decades as milk production per cow has increased. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain this including issues of genetics, physiology, nutrition and management, and these factors have been investigated at the animal, organ and cellular level at critical time points of the productive life of dairy cows. This paper reviews the physiological events and their causes and consequences affecting fertility in dairy cows and summarises these in a downloadable poster. We consider the following points to have the greatest negative impact on fertility and that they need to be prioritised in efforts to ameliorate the problem (others have been included in the review). Firstly, minimise negative energy balance and resolve any infection of the post partum uterus. Secondly, expression and detection of oestrus followed by insemination with high quality semen (day 0). Thirdly, ovulation and fertilisation of a high quality oocyte (day 1). Fourthly, an early increase in progesterone secretion from the corpus luteum (days 3-7). Fifthly, the uterine endometrium must produce an early and appropriate environment to stimulate embryo development (days 6-13). This leads to sixthly, a large embryo producing adequate quantities of interferon tau (days 14-18) that alters uterine prostaglandin secretion and signals maternal recognition of pregnancy (days 16-18). Future strategies to improve dairy cow fertility are needed for the benefit of the dairy industry and for cow welfare and should be based upon an integrative approach of these events.
Article
The transformation of the dominant follicle into a functional corpus luteum is accompanied by a profound molecular and morphological reorganization of somatic cell layers. Several studies have focused on gene expression during early processes of follicular differentiation as it relates to recruitment and selection of dominant follicles. However, little information exists on changes of gene expression profiles in late preovulatory follicles. This lack of information is addressed here to elucidate molecular mechanisms behind the LH-induced transition from the large dominant estrogen-active to the preovulatory follicle, an intermediate stage toward full luteinization. Transcripts encoding key molecules for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones and prostaglandins, as well as receptors for gonadotropic and growth hormones (Star, Cyp11a1, Hsd3b, Cyp17, Cyp19, Ptgs2, Fshr, Lhr, and Ghr), were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the granulosa and theca of large dominant and late preovulatory follicles. The steroid hormones progesterone (P4) and estradiol-17beta (E2) were monitored to distinguish estrogen-active and estrogen-inactive follicles. We found that (1) independent of the follicular stage, the gene expression profile was very different in granulosa and theca; (2) the abundance of several key transcripts was lower in estrogen-inactive, compared with estrogen-active, dominant follicles; (3) in the granulosa of late preovulatory follicles, transcripts encoding steroidogenic enzymes and hormone receptors were largely down-regulated, whereas (4) progesterone and E2 were found at high concentrations in the follicular fluid. Collectively, our data show that late preovulatory follicles have a transient and unique gene expression profile and are clearly different from both the preceding and subsequent (follicular and luteal, respectively) stages.
Article
Veterinarians and scientists involved in applied and basic research in cattle require a lexicon of terms that is used uniformly so that diagnoses and inference of results between and among studies can be correctly interpreted and substantiated or negated and therapy and hypotheses can be formulated without unnecessary confusion and redundancy in treatments and experiments. This review provides a compilation of many of the classical and contemporary terms used in association with ovarian dynamics primarily during the estrous cycle in cattle, which can also apply to other reproductive states. While many classical terms used to describe healthy and diseased conditions associated with follicles and corpora lutea are still applicable today, there are some that have become antiquated (e.g., cystic corpus luteum, cystic ovarian degeneration, luteolysis, and granulosa cell tumor), due, in part, to advanced technology (e.g., ultrasonography) and a more thorough understanding of ovarian function. In this regard, older terms have been revised (e.g., corpus luteum with a cavity, follicular and luteinized-follicular cysts, structural and functional luteal regression, and granulosa-theca cell tumor) and newer terms have been coined (e.g., follicle deviation) and advocated herein. Defining and adopting terminology used in bovine reproduction that is clear, precise and understandable and available in a single source, is expected to make the exchange of clinical and research information and outcomes more effective, safe, and economical.
Article
The goals of the present study were to investigate whether colour Doppler sonography can be used to differentiate temporary from persistent ovarian follicles and follicles with luteal tissue from follicles without luteal tissue and to assess the response of follicular cysts to administration of a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) analogue. Fifty-four cows having ovarian follicular structures with a diameter of >15 mm but no corpus luteum were included. These cows were examined via B-mode and colour Doppler sonography. The same examinations were repeated 10 to 12 days later, and the cows with follicular cysts (n=17) received a GnRH analogue. Blood flow was measured before and 30 min after treatment. Ten to 12 days later, the response to treatment was assessed using B-mode sonography. While 31 of 54 follicles disappeared spontaneously (temporary follicles), 23 follicles persisted and were diagnosed as cystic ovarian follicles (COFs). There was no difference between temporary follicles and COFs in regard to total area, wall thickness or the perfused area. In the luteinized follicles (n=13), based on the plasma progesterone concentration, total area was twice as large, wall thickness was three times greater and the perfused area was 4.5 times larger than those of the non-luteinized follicles (n=41). The sensitivity of diagnosing luteinized follicles was 61.5% using B-mode sonography and 92.3% using colour Doppler sonography. Twelve cows responded to GnRH, and five cows did not. There was a trend (P=0.07) toward higher (59.3%) blood flow in the cyst wall 30 min after treatment in the responding cows compared with the non-responding cows. Our results showed that the perfused area more accurately reflects active luteal tissue than wall thickness. Thus, colour Doppler sonography is superior to B-mode sonography for differentiating follicular and luteal cysts and aids in the selection of treatment. However, exact prediction of COFs destined to regress or persist and the response of COFs to treatment with a GnRH analogue were not possible using colour Doppler sonography.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine whether cortisol content of milk might objectively measure stress in lactating dairy cows. A procedure has been developed for measuring cortisol in milk samples by a combination of solvent extraction, chromatography, and compe- titive protein-binding procedures. Cortisol is normally in cow's milk, and injection of 200 IU adrenocorticotropin into five cows caused an increase in concentration of cortisol in milk from 2.5 ng/ml to 8.7 ng/ml. The stress of shipping 39 cows by truck from one dairy to another also in- creased the concentration of cortisol in milk and decreased milk production. We correlated the concentration of cortisol in milk with the average concentratin in blood during the interval of milk secre- tion. Under control conditions and after injection of adrenocorticotropin to in- crease circulating cortisol, the regression equations describing the transport of cor- tisol from blood to milk are nearly iden- tical. These results are interpreted to indi- cate that the mammary gland is integra- ting the circulating concentration of cor- tisol, and, therefore, the cortisol concen- tration in milk reflects the average con- centration in blood during the interval of milk synthesis. Because the secretion of cortisol into milk is one example of a more general phenomenon, a model is presented to describe the diffusion of materials across the mammary secretory cell and into milk.
Article
A study was conducted to test the hypothesis that high cortisol concentrations associated with products of infections (endotoxin) cause derangement in the neuroendocrine mechanism controlling ovulation in heifers. Eight Holstein heifers were given 2 injections of prostaglandin (PG), 11 days apart, to synchronize estrus. Starting from 25 hours after the second injection of PG (PG-2), the uterus of each heifer was infused with 5 ml of pyrogen-free water (control, n = 3) or Escherichia coli endotoxin (5 micrograms/kg of body weight) in 5 ml of pyrogen-free water (treated, n = 5), once every 6 hours for 10 treatments. Blood samples were obtained every 15 minutes via indwelling jugular catheter for an hour before and 2 hours after each infusion, then hourly until an hour before the next infusion. Ultrasonography of the ovaries was performed every 12 hours, starting 24 hours after PG-2 injection until 96 hours after PG-2 injection. Serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone and cortisol were determined by validated radioimmunoassays. Changes in cortisol concentrations were not detected in control heifers with preovulatory luteinizing hormone surges at 60 to 66 hours after PG-2 injection, followed by ovulations 72 to 96 hours after PG-2 was injected. None of the treated heifers ovulated, and the resulting follicular cysts (14 to 18 mm diameter) persisted for 7 to 21 days. In all treated heifers, serum cortisol concentrations increased (4- to 10-fold) during the first 2 hours after each infusion and then decreased gradually until the next infusion. Luteinizing hormone concentrations remained at baseline values throughout the treatment period in all treated heifers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Article
Dexamethasone (two 10-rag intramus- cular injections 12 h apart) was given to three lactating cows. Milk production de- creased from 13.0 ___ 1.9 to 8.5 +_ 2.2 kg/day (mean ___ standard error). Mam- mary blood flow estimated by the anti- pyrine absorption method decreased in four of six half udders following dexa- methasone. Changes in packed cell vol- ume and plasma concentrations of free fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium and blood L-lactate were not significant. Mean blood 3-OH-butyrate concentration decreased from 6.4 to 4.5 rag/100 ml. Plasma glucose concentration increased from 58 __+ 3 to 107 ~- 9rag/100 ml. Mammary arterioveaaous differences of glucose were decreased by 41% and net mammary uptakes of glucose by 38~. Milk production was correlated with the mammary arteriovenous difference, ex- traction and net uptake of glucose, and the net uptake of glucose-plus-lactate but not with arterial glucose concentra- tion. The results associate diminished milk production with diminished glucose uptake and utilization of glucose by the mammary gland rather than diminished availability of glucose in the blood.
Article
Cortisol (50 or 150 mg. daily) given to mature sheep throughout a fast of 10 days increased the blood glucose level but greatly diminished the increases in blood ketone and plasma free fatty acid concentrations in comparison with those observed in fasting control sheep. Cortisol treatment did not change the plasma amino acid nitrogen level, but urinary nitrogen excretion of treated sheep continued at a higher rate throughout the fast. Phloridzin treatment reduced the elevated blood glucose of cortisol-treated sheep and increased circulating ketone, free fatty acid and amino acid nitrogen levels, as well as increasing urinary nitrogen excretion and causing glycosuria in both control and cortisol-treated sheep. Subcutaneously administered insulin, while also abolishing the hyperglycemia, decreased or prevented increases in the blood ketone, free fatty acid and amino acid nitrogen concentrations of cortisol-treated sheep. It is concluded from the relationships between the circulating concentration of glucose and the levels of ketones, free fatty acids and amino acids that the minor effect of cortisol on protein catabolism, and the antilipolytic and antiketogenic actions of cortisol in the sheep are dependent on the presence of hyperglycemia and probably reflect a compensatory hypersecretion of insulin accompanying this hyperglycemia.
Article
Five ovariectomized cows were treated with 1, 10 and 500 μg adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). Administration of 10 and 500 μg ACTH gave significantly higher mean plasma progesterone concentrations than those of control cows receiving saline (P < 0·001). It is probable that these doses of ACTH are capable of releasing sufficient adrenal progesterone to result in lowering of fertility in cows.
Article
During proestrus, gonadotropins induce final follicular maturation, resulting in increased secretion of estradiol. Estradiol, in the relative absence of progesterone, acts on the hypothalamus to induce estrous behavior. The mean duration of estrus is 12 to 16 h and ranges from 3 to 28 h. The effects of estradiol appear to be "all or none". That is, once a threshold of estradiol is achieved, estrus is induced, and additional amounts of estradiol above threshold do not further enhance the estrous response (duration and intensity of estrus). Also, progesterone can block the estrus-inducing actions of estradiol. In addition, prior exposure to progesterone does not potentiate the estrus-inducing actions of estradiol except in the early postpartum period. In dairy cows, the first postpartum ovulation is often "silent". In other words, ovulation is not preceded by estrous behavior. High levels of estradiol during late gestation apparently induce a refractory state such that the brain cannot respond to the estrus-inducing actions of estradiol at the first postpartum ovulation. Progesterone can "reset" the brain, allowing it to respond to subsequent estradiol exposure. In the case of the postpartum cow, the corpus luteum formed after the first ovulation provides the progesterone that resets the brain. As a consequence, the second postpartum ovulation is preceded by estrous behavior. Finally, stress (or injection of ACTH) has been shown to delay, shorten, or inhibit completely the expression of estrus in the presence of estrus-inducing concentrations of estradiol.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Article
The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in cultured bovine granulosa cells has been studied. As shown by northern blot analysis, granulosa cells express the VEGF gene. Analysis of the VEGF transcripts by the polymerase chain reaction technique shows that granulosa cells express predominantly the smallest VEGF coding forms (VEGF121 and VEGF164). Since in the promoter region of the VEGF gene there are four potential AP-1 sites and two potential AP-2 sites we have studied if TPA and forskolin could regulate VEGF gene expression. TPA induces VEGF transcription in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. Maximal VEGF mRNA levels are detected 6 h after TPA treatment. Induction apparently requires de novo protein synthesis since it does not occur when translation is inhibited by cycloheximide. Forskolin, a naturally occurring diterpene that activates adenylylcyclase, also increases VEGF mRNA content in a time-dependent manner. Induction does not require de novo protein synthesis and, in contrast to TPA, induction is strongly potentiated by cycloheximide. Luteotrophic hormone, a known activator of adenylylcyclase, also induces VEGF transcription. These results imply that granulosa cells may be a source of VEGF which could play a role in the angiogenic process associated with ovulation and corpus luteum formation.
Article
Stress is revealed by the inability of an animal to cope with its environment, a phenomenon that is often reflected in a failure to achieve genetic potential. Field data from dairy cows show that stressors such as milk fever or lameness increase the calving to conception interval by 13–14 days, and an extra 0.5 inseminations are required per conception. We suggest that a variety of endocrine regulatory points exist whereby stress limits the efficiency of reproduction. Transport produces an immediate constant increase in arginine vasopressin (AVP) and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion in ewes, but adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) reaches a maximum in the first hour while cortisol is highest during the second hour. In contrast, after an insulin injection, the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) response is delayed occurring only after glucose decreases below a threshold. Changes in AVP, CRH and ACTH each follow a similar time course, but eventually the secretion of AVP and CRH decreases while glucose is still at a nadir. Negative feedback effects appear to operate mainly at the pituitary level during transport but at the hypothalamus during hypoglycaemia.
Article
The objective of this study was to develop a model for the study of abnormal ovarian follicles in cattle by treating heifers with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) (100 iu at 12 h intervals for 7 days, beginning on day 15 of the oestrous cycle). Cortisol concentrations increased (P < 0.05) within 24 h after beginning ACTH treatment and cortisol and progesterone concentrations remained elevated after cessation of ACTH treatment for 8 and 4 days, respectively. The pulses and surges of LH decreased during ACTH treatment, but FSH profiles were similar to those in controls and persistent or prolonged follicles were eventually observed in all heifers. In five heifers, prolonged dominant follicles ovulated after 10 days, whereas in six heifers, persistent follicular structures were present for 20 days, but ceased to secrete oestradiol after approximately 12 days. In the heifers with persistent follicular structures, new follicles emerged when the persistent follicle became non-oestrogenic. During the last 2 days of normal follicular growth, the concentration of oestradiol was greater than it was during prolonged or persistent follicle development (P < 0.05). There were no differences in the growth rates or maximum diameters of abnormal follicles that had different outcomes, but oestradiol concentrations were greater in prolonged follicles that ovulated compared with those follicles that persisted (P = 0.06). In conclusion, stimulation with ACTH resulted in a marked deviance from normal follicular activity. The aberrations were probably caused by the interruption of pulsatile secretion of LH (but not FSH) leading to decreased but prolonged oestradiol secretion.
Article
The aim of the present study was to induce ovarian cysts experimentally in cattle using ACTH and to closely examine the role of LH pulse frequency in ovarian cyst formation. Five regularly cycling Holstein-Friesian heifers (15-18-month-old) were used. Ovaries were scanned daily using an ultrasound scanner with a 7.5 MHz rectal transducer. Daily blood samples were obtained via tail venepuncture for hormone analyses. Additional blood samples (for FSH and LH pulses) were obtained through an indwelling jugular vein catheters every 15 min for 8 h on Days 2 (early luteal phase; ELP), 12 (mid-luteal phase; MLP) and 19 (follicular phase; FP) of control estrous cycle and on alternate days during follicular cyst (FC) formation and persistence. Cysts were induced using subcutaneous injections of ACTH (Cortrosyn) Z; 1 mg) every 12 h for 7 days beginning on Day 15 of the subsequent estrous cycle. Plasma concentrations of progesterone (P4), estradiol-17beta, FSH and LH were determined by double antibody radioimmunoassay while cortisol concentration was determined by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Ovarian follicular and endocrine dynamics were normal during the control estrous cycles. Ovarian follicular cysts were induced in four of the five heifers. Mean maximum size of cysts was larger (P<0.05) than that of ovulatory follicles (26.78+/-3.65 versus 14.1+/-0.90 mm), respectively. Cortisol levels were increased during ACTH treatment. High concentrations of estradiol and low progesterone were observed after cyst formation. LH pulse frequency was significantly reduced (P<0.05) during cyst formation and persistence compared to ELP (7.5+/-0.75) and FP (6.5+/-0.58), but was not significantly (P=0.23) different from MLP (2.8+/-0.29) pulses. Mean LH pulse amplitude and concentrations were not different. Similarly, the mean pulse frequency, amplitude and concentration of FSH were not different between control study and cystic heifers. These results suggest that the LH pulse frequency observed following ACTH treatment may interact with high estradiol concentration to induce ovarian cyst formation in heifers.
Article
Angiogenesis and capillary degeneration are both evident during ovarian follicle growth. However, the characteristics and distribution of thecal capillary proliferative and degenerative structures have not been fully defined. Indeed, the role of thecal microvasculature changes in follicular atresia is still a matter of debate. The present study examined the distribution of thecal capillary changes occurring during follicular growth and related the changes to capillary morphology (by scanning electron microscopy, SEM, on bovine ovarian corrosion casts) with the incidence of capillary apoptosis (TdT-mediated dUTP nick end-labelling, TUNEL) and follicular status (as confirmed by follicular fluid steroid concentrations). SEM demonstrated well-perfused vascular plexuses of small to large antral follicles with structural and functional changes to capillaries. Angiogenesis was evident mainly in the apical part of the inner capillary layer of medium follicles and the middle or basal part of the inner capillary layer of dominant follicles that exhibited high oestradiol:progesterone ratios. Degenerative capillaries were observed mainly in the outer vascular layers of small follicles, and in the inner and outer vascular layers of medium antral follicles. Although apoptotic structures were present only in the outer capillaries of the theca interna of morphologically healthy antral follicles, atretic follicles showed apoptotic structures in both the outer and inner thecal capillary layers. These results show that angiogenesis increases during bovine follicular growth and occurs unevenly in different inner theca regions of the follicles. The differential angiogenic and degenerative response of theca interna capillaries may reflect differences in the microenvironment of the follicles, which in turn determine the fate of the follicles (continued growth versus atresia).
Article
Haemodynamic changes are involved in the cyclic remodelling of ovarian tissue that occurs during final follicular growth, ovulation and new corpus luteum development. The aim of this study was to characterize the real-time changes in the blood flow within the follicle wall associated with the LH surge, ovulation and corpus luteum development in cows. Normally cyclic cows with a spontaneous ovulation (n = 5) or a GnRH-induced ovulation (n = 5) were examined by transrectal colour and pulsed Doppler ultrasonography to determine the area and the time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMXV) of the blood flow within the preovulatory follicle wall and the early corpus luteum. Ultrasonographic examinations began 48 h after a luteolytic injection of PGF(2alpha) analogue was given at the mid-luteal phase of the oestrous cycle. Cows with spontaneous ovulation were scanned at 6 h intervals until ovulation occurred. Cows with GnRH-induced ovulation were scanned just before GnRH injection (0 h), thereafter at 0.5, 1, 2, 6, 12, 24 h and at 24 h intervals up to day 5. Blood samples were collected at the same time points for oestradiol, LH and progesterone determinations. Cows with both spontaneous and GnRH-induced ovulation showed a clear increase in the plasma concentration of LH (LH surge) followed by ovulation 26-34 h later. In the colour Doppler image of the preovulatory follicle, the blood flow before the LH surge was detectable only in a small area in the base of the follicle. An acute increase in the blood flow velocity (TAMXV) was detected at 0.5 h after GnRH injection, synchronously with the initiation of the LH surge. At 12 h after the LH surge, the plasma concentrations of oestradiol decreased to basal concentrations. The TAMXV remained unchanged after the initial increase until ovulation, but decreased on day 2 (12-24 h after ovulation). In the early corpus luteum, the blood flow (area and TAMXV) gradually increased in parallel with the increase in corpus luteum volume and plasma progesterone concentration from day 2 to day 5, indicating active angiogenesis and normal luteal development. Collectively, the complex structural, secretory and functional changes that take place in the ovary before ovulation are closely associated with a local increase in the blood flow within the preovulatory follicle wall. The result of the present study provides the first visual information on vascular and blood flow changes associated with ovulation and early corpus luteum development in cows. This information may be essential for future studies involving pharmacological control of blood flow and alteration of ovarian function.
Article
The aim of this study was to examine the distribution of microvessels in the theca and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the theca and granulosa of cystic follicles. Paraffin sections of cystic follicles were stained with Bandeiraea simplicifolia-I (BS-I) to visualize the endothelial cells of microvessels. The other sections were immunostained with anti-VEGF antibody. The mRNA expression of VEGF in the theca interna of cystic and healthy follicle was determined by RT-PCR. In the theca interna, cystic follicles with granulosa cells had significantly greater microvessel number density (the number of microvessels per given field) and area (area occupied by microvessels per given area) than healthy follicles in various sizes (<3, 4-8, >9 mm). Loss of granulosa cells from cystic follicles resulted in a similar number density, but significantly smaller area of microvessels in the theca interna. There was no significant difference in the microvessel number density and area of the theca externa between the types of follicle. VEGF protein was expressed in the granulosa and theca interna of healthy and cystic follicles. These results demonstrate that cystic follicles have a highly developed vasculature network in the theca interna, especially in cystic follicles containing granulosa cells. It is also suggested that VEGF is highly expressed in the cystic follicle as well as healthy follicle, which may be associated with advanced vasculature and the accumulation of follicular fluid in cystic follicles.
Article
Ultrasonography (US) has been applied to the ovary and the uterus of domestic animals from the late 1980s, and established in 1990s as a practical tool for animal production. US made it possible to detect pregnancy at a very early stage and, most importantly, to observe the real-time dynamics of follicular development and hence the discovery of follicular waves. This has greatly contributed to our understanding of ovarian physiology and helped us to develop several "pin-point" protocols for hormonal treatment. While US may not seem to fit preconceived ideas of a "green" technology, it does not contravene environmental priorities, and it is non-invasive ("ethical") and non-hormonal ("clean"). Using the US technology that is now commercially available at a reasonable price, we are able to estimate the best timing for AI and this allows us to plan either the use of precisely-timed nutritional supplements for fetal development or an immediate 2nd AI service to achieve a better economic efficiency. During the last few years, we have also begun to be able to observe in detail the local blood flow in individual ovarian follicles and CL using color Doppler ultrasonography in the cow. From the series of observations, we have found that: 1) the change of blood supply to an individual follicle closely relates to the dynamics of follicular growth and atresia; 2) the local blood flow detected in the theca externa of mature follicles rapidly increases around the onset of LH surge and is most active before ovulation; 3) the blood supply to the developing CL increases in parallel with CL volume and plasma progesterone concentrations; and 4) the local blood flow surrounding the mature CL acutely increases prior to the onset of luteolysis in response to uterine as well as exogenous PGF(2alpha). It is now clear that color Doppler ultrasound is very useful for observing echogenicity with local blood flow thereby providing an easily obtained estimation of the physiological status of follicles, CLs and early conceptus. Widespread commercial application of color US will depend on further technological developments that reduce the cost and improve performance and ease-of-use. Overall, US is now a most effective non-invasive tool for managing reproduction, at the level of both the individual animal and the herd system. In particular, US can help us to clarify potential problems in high-producing dairy cattle during the postpartum period.
Article
Cystic ovarian follicles (COF) are an important ovarian dysfunction and a major cause of reproductive failure in dairy cattle. Due to the complexity of the disorder and the heterogeneity of the clinical signs, a clear definition is lacking. A follicle becomes cystic when it fails to ovulate and persists on the ovary. Despite an abundance of literature on the subject, the exact pathogenesis of COF is unclear. It is generally accepted that disruption of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, by endogenous and/or exogenous factors, causes cyst formation. Secretion of GnRH/LH from the hypothalamus-pituitary is aberrant, which is attributed to insensitivity of the hypothalamus-pituitary to the positive feedback effect of oestrogens. In addition, several factors can influence GnRH/LH release at the hypothalamo-pituitary level. At the ovarian level, cellular and molecular changes in the growing follicle may contribute to anovulation and cyst formation, but studying follicular changes prior to cyst formation remains extremely difficult. Differences in receptor expression between COF and dominant follicles may be an indication of the pathways involved in cyst formation. The genotypic and phenotypic link of COF with milk yield may be attributed to negative energy balance and the associated metabolic and hormonal adaptations. Altered metabolite and hormone concentrations may influence follicle growth and cyst development, both at the level of the hypothalamus-pituitary and the ovarian level.
Article
To determine the relationships among vascularity, expression of angiogenic factors, and selected intrafollicular factors in dominant and nondominant follicles of the first follicular wave, ovaries were obtained on d 3 of the estrous cycle from mature cross-bred beef heifers (n = 8) after a synchronized estrus. Follicular fluid (FF) was collected from all follicles > or = 3 mm for determination of estradiol-17beta (E), progesterone (P4), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and IGFBP concentrations. The ovaries were then perfusion-fixed and used for histochemical detection of lectin BS-1 (a marker of endothelial cells and thus vascularization) binding, and immunolocalization of VEGF, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and proliferating cell nuclear antigen, followed by image analysis of selected follicles. Follicles were classified, based on E and P4 concentrations in FF, as dominant, estrogen-active (EA; E:P4 > or = 1) or nondominant, estrogen-inactive (EI; E:P4 <1). Concentrations of E and VEGF in FF, the area of positive staining for lectin BS-1, VEGF, and eNOS, and the labeling index (an index of the percentage of cells proliferating) in granulosa and theca layers were greater (P < 0.05) in the EA than in the EI follicles, but concentrations of P4 and IGFBP in FF were less (P < 0.05) in EA than in EI follicles. In addition, vascularity was positively correlated (P < 0.05) with VEGF and eNOS protein expression, and tended (P < 0.1) to be positively correlated with the E:P4 ratio in FF but tended (P < 0.1) to be negatively correlated with IGFBP and P4 concentrations in FF. These data highlight the importance of vascularity, angiogenic factors, and IGFBP in the health of the dominant follicle in heifers, and indicate that the FF concentrations of E, VEGF, IGFBP, and P4, and the E:P4 ratio can be used as markers of dominant follicles.
Article
The objective of this research was to determine changes in IGF-I levels in serum and follicular fluid, and immunoreactivity of the follicle wall of cows with spontaneous (slaughter specimens) or ACTH-induced follicular cysts, and to compare results to normal cycling (control) cows after selection of the ovulatory follicle. Concentrations of IGF-I in serum did not differ between control and cystic animals (p=0.76). Fluid from the ovulatory follicle in control cows had 41% higher concentrations of IGF-I than that from cystic follicles collected at slaughter (spontaneous cysts; p<0.05) and 70% higher than that in induced follicular cysts (p<0.05). An intense positive immunostaining with anti-IGF-I was observed in granulosa cells (p<0.05) and in the theca interna (p<0.05) of secondary and tertiary follicles in all three groups of animals, but staining was less intense in cystic (p<0.05) and atretic follicles (p<0.05). This study provides evidence to suggest that cystic ovarian disease in cattle is associated with decreased concentrations of IGF-I in follicular fluid, but not in serum, and decreased production of IGF-I in the follicular wall. These data support the notion that IGF-I plays a role in the regulation of folliculogenesis, and may participate in the pathogenesis of cystic ovarian disease in cattle.
Article
Stress activates the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis leading to enhanced glucocorticoid secretion and concurrently disrupts ovarian cycle. Plant polyphenols are known to posses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proprieties. This could be of interest for ovarian cycle when stressing conditions lead to progesterone enhancement and hamper normal reproduction activity. The present study examined whether ovarian follicular development and progesterone secretory pattern are affected by exogenous ACTH administration in heifers. Moreover, the effect of grape polyphenols in endometrium of heifers, under adrenocorticotropic hormone challenge, is evaluated in terms of transcriptional patterns of genes related to inflammation, oxidative stress and endometrial functions.
Angiopoietin-2, a natural antagonist for Tie2 that disrupts in vivo angiogenesis
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  • C Suri
  • Pf Jones
  • S Bartunkova
  • Sj Wiegand
  • C Radziejewski
  • D Compton
  • J Mcclain
  • Th Aldrich
  • N Papadopoulos
  • Tj Daly
  • S Davis
  • Tn Sato
  • Gd Yancopoulos
Maisonpierre PC, Suri C, Jones PF, Bartunkova S, Wiegand SJ, Radziejewski C, Compton D, McClain J, Aldrich TH, Papadopoulos N, Daly TJ, Davis S, Sato TN, Yancopoulos GD. Angiopoietin-2, a natural antagonist for Tie2 that disrupts in vivo angiogenesis. Science 1997; 277:55-60.
isomerase compared to normal dominant follicles
isomerase compared to normal dominant follicles. Biol Reprod 2001;65:471-6.