Author(s): Ginther OJ
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Abstract The nature of selection of the dominant follicle is reviewed by comparing research results between cattle and horses. In both species, emergence of a follicular wave is stimulated by an FSH surge. The surge reaches a peak by the time the follicles attain 4 mm in diameter in cattle and 13 mm in mares. In cattle, all of the growing follicles >/=5 mm contribute to the decline in FSH concentrations. However, the declining FSH concentrations are still needed by the growing follicles. Several days after the peak of the FSH surge and emergence of the wave, the two largest follicles reach means of 8.5 and 7.7 mm in cattle and 22 and 19 mm in horses. At this approximate time, the follicles begin to undergo deviation in follicle diameters, which is characterized by continued growth of the largest follicle to become the dominant follicle and reduced or terminated growth of the remaining follicles to become subordinate follicles. In both species, on average, the future dominant follicle emerges before the future largest subordinate follicle, and the two follicles grow in parallel until deviation. The difference in diameter between the two largest follicles at the beginning of deviation is equivalent in growth to approximately 8 h in cattle and 24 h in mares. Apparently, this is adequate time for the largest follicle to establish the deviation process before the second-largest follicle reaches a similar diameter. During this time, the largest follicle plays the primary role in further suppressing circulating FSH concentrations to below the requirements of the smaller follicles, which causes their regression. The follicle-produced FSH suppressants appear to be estradiol and inhibin. In addition to enhancing its FSH-suppressing ability, the largest follicle also develops the ability to utilize the reduced concentrations of FSH for its continued growth. It is therefore postulated that the essence of selection of a dominant follicle in these two species is a close two-way functional coupling between changing FSH concentrations and follicle growth and development. Elevated concentrations of circulating LH encompass deviation in both species and may play a role in continued growth of the largest follicle. It is not known if LH begins to be utilized by the largest follicle before, at, or after the beginning of diameter deviation. However, results of studies in mares suggested that LH does not influence growth of the dominant follicle until after the beginning of deviation.
This article was published in Anim Reprod Sci
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science