Author(s): Irvine CH, Turner JE, Alexander SL, Shand N, van Noordt S
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Abstract In mares, dioestrous FSH profiles based on once-a-day sampling are variable; however, the pulsatility of plasma FSH, which has been suggested by limited windows of intensive sampling, may contribute to this variability. Jugular blood from six mares was sampled at 4 h intervals throughout an ovulatory cycle to determine cyclic FSH and LH patterns more accurately and to measure gonadotrophin pulse frequency during dioestrus. Synchronous pulses of FSH and LH occurred regularly in all mares between day 4 and day 12 (ovulation = day 0) with a mean (+/- SEM) frequency of 1.9 +/- 0.1 (FSH) or 1.6 +/- 0.1 (LH) pulses day-1. LH pulse amplitude declined (P < 0.0001) between day 4 and day 10, but FSH pulse amplitude remained large and stable, dipping slightly but not significantly on day 6. Daily mean FSH concentrations exceeded (P < 0.0001) early oestrous values between day 4 and day 5, and between day 7 and day 10. However, significantly different patterns were obtained when once-a-day sampling was simulated by selecting samples collected at 08:00 h or noon. LH was higher during the periovulatory surge than during dioestrus (P < 0.0001) and profiles were similar whether daily means or selected samples were used. It is concluded that: (1) the marked pulsatility of plasma FSH during dioestrus makes once-a-day sampling misleading for determining FSH profiles; (2) the dioestrous pattern of large, slow FSH pulses was consistent among mares, unlike that of the daily mean FSH profiles; and (3) no discrete FSH 'surges' were observed during dioestrus, although FSH pulse amplitude tended to undergo alternate increases and decreases. A period of higher amplitude FSH pulses preceded ovulation by 10.2 +/- 0.7 days, which corresponds to the approximate time the ovulatory follicle emerges. Therefore, it is possible that the signal for follicular recruitment in mares is intermittent excursions of plasma FSH above a threshold value.
This article was published in J Reprod Fertil
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science