The hypothesis of the present study was that a GnRH agonist application at early pregnancy would alter the pattern of the key reproductive hormones LH and FSH, and subsequently that of estradiol (E2) and especially progesterone (P4), and improve the conditions for embryo survival in early pregnant gilts. Therefore, the endocrine effects of a GnRH agonist (GnRHa) application to gilts (n=11 GnRHa treated, n=9 saline Controls) were studied in blood samples from the Vena cava caudalis. GnRHa injected on Day 12 after insemination induced elevated (P<0.01) LH and FSH levels for at least 180 min. However, subsequent LH concentrations were not altered up to Day 21 of pregnancy. LH pulse number, estimated in 6-h period samples on Days 13, 15 and 17, was not influenced by treatment and pregnancy. LH pulse amplitude was decreased (P<0.05) on Days 13 to 17 in pregnant gilts of both groups, but not in nonpregnant animals. In pregnant GnRHa-treated gilts, the basal LH level was elevated compared with the Controls (P<0.01). Additionally, differences (P<0.05) in basal LH were present between the pregnant and nonpregnant animals. The P4 and E2 secretion pattern was not affected by GnRHa. P4 concentrations increased (P<0.01) from Day 10 to Day 14 regardless of the treatment. P4 revealed a pulse-like pattern, but without a definite relation to the LH pulse characteristics. Also, pregnancy rate (73 vs. 67%) and the number of fetuses (12.8 ± 2.3 vs. 11.6 ± 2.3) were unaffected in the treated and Control gilts, respectively. The present study did not confirm the initial hypothesis that a GnRHa-mediated LH effect could alter ovarian steroid secretion and favorably support early embryo development and pregnancy outcome.
Based on the supposition that lamprey GnRH-III (lGnRH-III) elicits FSH releasing activity in swine, synthetic lGnRH-III (peforelin, Maprelin® XP10) was used in puberal estrus synchronized gilts. The secretion of reproductive hormones FSH, LH, estradiol and progesterone was analyzed, and follicle growth and ovulation recorded. Altogether, 24 German Landrace gilts were treated after an 18-day long synchronization of the estrus cycle with Regumate® as follows: 48 h after the last Regumate® feeding they received im either 150 ?g Maprelin® XP10 (lGnRH-III, group Maprelin, n = 6), 50 ?g Gonavet Veyx® (GnRH-I agonist, group GnRH, n = 6), 850 IE Pregmagon® (eCG, group eCG, n = 6) or saline (group Control, n = 6). Additionally, in eight gilts the concentrations of FSH and LH were analyzed after treatment with 150 ?g Maprelin® XP10 (n = 3), 50 ?g Gonavet Veyx® (n = 3) or saline (n = 2) at mid-cycle (day 10 of the estrus cycle). Blood samples were collected via implanted jugular vein catheters. Ovarian features were judged endoscopically at the end of the Regumate® feeding and on days 5 and 6 after treatment. Maprelin® XP10 had no effect on FSH release in gilts; neither at the pre-ovulatory period or at mid-cycle. Furthermore, LH levels were unaffected. In contrast, GnRH-I agonist stimulates FSH release, however less compared to LH secretion. LH secretion was induced by GnRH-I both during the follicular phase and at mid-cycle. Equine CG did not stimulate the release of pituitary hormones FSH and LH due to its direct action on the ovary. Increased estradiol concentrations during days 2 to 5 after Regumate® in all treatment groups indicated pre-ovulatory follicle growth in gilts. Equine CG stimulated a higher (P < 0.01) number of ovulatory follicles compared to the other treatment groups. All together, 83 to 100 % of gilts ovulated by day 6 post treatment. In summary, results of our study on reproductive hormone secretion do not provide evidence that synthetic lGnRH-III (Maprelin® XP10) selectively releases FSH in estrus synchronized gilts.
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.
High and low protein diets fed to pregnant adolescent sows led to intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). To explore underlying mechanisms, sow plasma metabolite and hormone concentrations were analyzed during different pregnancy stages and correlated with litter weight (LW) at birth, sow body weight and back fat thickness. Sows were fed diets with low (6.5%, LP), adequate (12.1%, AP), and high (30%, HP) protein levels, made isoenergetic by adjusted carbohydrate content. At -5, 24, 66, and 108 days post coitum (dpc) fasted blood was collected. At 92 dpc, diurnal metabolic profiles were determined. Fasted serum urea and plasma glucagon were higher due to the HP diet. High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), %HDLC and cortisol were reduced in HP compared with AP sows. Lowest concentrations were observed for serum urea and protein, plasma insulin-like growth factor-I, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and progesterone in LP compared with AP and HP sows. Fasted plasma glucose, insulin and leptin concentrations were unchanged. Diurnal metabolic profiles showed lower glucose in HP sows whereas non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) concentrations were higher in HP compared with AP and LP sows. In HP and LP sows, urea concentrations were 300% and 60% of AP sows, respectively. Plasma total cholesterol was higher in LP than in AP and HP sows. In AP sows, LW correlated positively with insulin and insulin/glucose and negatively with glucagon/insulin at 66 dpc, whereas in HP sows LW associated positively with NEFA. In conclusion, IUGR in sows fed high protein:low carbohydrate diet was probably due to glucose and energy deficit whereas in sows with low protein:high carbohydrate diet it was possibly a response to a deficit of indispensable amino acids which impaired lipoprotein metabolism and favored maternal lipid disposal.
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