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Steroid production and hCG binding by ram-induced ovarian follicles in seasonally anoestrous ewes

Atkinson, S., Williamson, P., Kang, C.L. and Carson, R.S. (1986) Steroid production and hCG binding by ram-induced ovarian follicles in seasonally anoestrous ewes. Reproduction, 78 (2). pp. 403-412.

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The introduction of rams to a group of previously isolated anoestrous ewes has been shown to stimulate ovarian follicular development and ovulation. The present experiment was carried out to determine the ability of follicles arising from this ram stimulus to produce steroids and bind hCG. Seasonally anoestrous Southdown ewes were exposed to rams for 24 h, 40 h, 3 days, 10 days or 20 days before ovariectomy. Steroid production and the concentration of hCG binding sites in follicles dissected from the ovaries were measured in vitro. The presence of a ram caused ovulation and enhanced oestradiol production by follicles, but had little effect on total androgen production or the number of hCG binding sites present in the follicles when compared to follicles from anoestrous ewes. The oestradiol concentrations in large follicles were not as high as in preovulatory follicles from cyclic ewes reported in other studies. Follicles continued to develop through the ram contact period and when incubated after 40 h and 10 days of ram contact produced high levels of progesterone, indicating partial luteinization, although the corpora lutea (CL) resulting from the induced ovulations regressed prematurely. We suggest that the lack of hCG binding sites in ram-induced follicles may be the cause of poor luteinization and suboptimal development of luteal tissue after induced ovulation in ewes during seasonal anoestrus.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Society for Reproduction and Fertility
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