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Follicle development, endocrine profiles and ovulation rate in adult Merino ewes: effects of early nutrition (pre- and post-natal) and supplementation with lupin grain



Follicle development, endocrine profiles and ovulation rate in adult Merino ewes: effects of early nutrition (pre- and post-natal) and supplementation with lupin grain



Reproduction 147(1): 101-110



In adult ewes, we tested whether ovarian function, including the response to short-term supplementation, was affected by the nutrition of their mothers during the pre-/post-natal period. A 2×2 factorial design was used with nutrition in early life (low or high) and a 6-day supplement (with or without) as factors. All ewes received three prostaglandin (PG) injections 7 days apart, and the supplement (lupin grain) was fed for 6 days from 2 days after the second until the third PG injection. We measured reproductive and metabolic hormones, studied follicle dynamics (ultrasonography), and evaluated granulosa cell numbers, aromatase activity and oestradiol (E2) concentrations in follicular fluid in healthy follicles at days 3 and 7 of supplementation. Ovulation rate was increased by 25% by exposure to high pre-/post-natal nutrition (1.5 vs 1.2; P<0.05), in association with a small decrease in FSH concentrations (P=0.06) and a small increase in insulin concentrations (P=0.07). The number of healthy antral follicles was not affected. Acute supplementation increased the number of granulosa cells (3.7±0.2 vs 3.0±0.2 million; P<0.05) in the largest follicle, and the circulating concentrations of E2 (4.6±0.3 vs 3.9±0.3 pmol/l; P<0.05) and glucose (3.4±0.03 vs 3.3±0.03 mmol/l; P<0.01). Both early life nutrition and acute supplementation appear to affect ovulation rate through changes in glucose-insulin homoeostasis that alter follicular responsiveness to FSH and therefore E2-FSH balance.

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Accession: 053274634

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24155291

DOI: 10.1530/rep-13-0104


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