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Ultrasonographic study of the effects of the corpus luteum on antral follicular development in unilaterally ovulating western white-faced ewes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Beard


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dThe objective of this study was to examine the local effects of the corpus luteum (CL) on ovarian antral follicle development by looking at follicle populations and dynamics in ovaries with or without CL, in unilaterally ovulating ewes, using a retrospective analysis of daily ultrasonographic records. The present report summarises the data from the first luteal phase of the breeding season (August-October; n = 4), a luteal phase in the mid-breeding season (November-December; n = 5), the last luteal phase of the breeding season (January-March; n = 5), and the luteal phase after GnRH-induced ovulations in mid-anoestrus (May-June; n = 4) of western white-faced ewes. Mean daily numbers of 3 mm follicles that did not grow any larger were significantly reduced in the CL-containing ovaries of ewes at all periods of study except for the transition to anoestrus. With all scanning periods combined, daily numbers of 3 mm follicles not growing further increased (P < 0.05) between day 6 and 15 after ovulation in the CL-containing ovaries. Based on mean data for the whole periods of observation, the non-CL-bearing ovaries of ewes in the transition to anoestrus had fewer (P < 0.05) follicles growing from 3 to greater than or equal to5 mm in size before regression compared with the mid-breeding season and mid-anoestrus. The lifespan of follicles reaching >5 mm in diameter was shorter (P < 0.05) in the CL- compared with non-CL-containing ovaries of anoestrous ewes induced to ovulate with GnRH ((6.5 +/- 1.3) and (9.0 +/- 1.0) days, respectively). Circulating concentrations of progesterone were lower during both transitional periods (into and out of anoestrus) and mid-anoestrus than during the mid-breeding season (P < 0.001), and were less during anoestrus than during both transitional periods (P < 0.05). It was concluded that CL/luteal structures locally suppressed the growth of ovarian antral follicles to the 3 mm size-range except during the transition to anoestrus, but that there was no inhibitory effect of the CL on the growth of ovarian follicles to larger diameters. The presence of CL/luteal structures did not affect the length of the lifespan of follicles reaching greater than or equal to5 min in diameter nor the number of ovulations per ovary in cyclic ewes, but shortened large follicle lifespan in anoestrous ewes. Variations in peripheral concentrations of progesterone across the breeding season and between the breeding season and anoestrus did not alter the lifespan of large antral follicles. In the transition to anoestrus and during mid-anoestrus, the presence of the CL in an ovary appeared to maintain follicle development to ovulatory sizes and to increase the rate of turnover of large antral. follicles, respectively. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Beard AP; Bartlewski PM; Rawlings NC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal Reproduction Science

Year: 2001

Volume: 65

Issue: 3-4

Pages: 231-244

ISSN (print): 0378-4320

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2232

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4320(00)00229-3


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