Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Circumventing the natural, frequent oestrogen waves of the female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) using oral progestin (Altrenogest)

Adrienne E. Crosier A C , Pierre Comizzoli B , Diana C. Koester A and David E. Wildt A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA.

B Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: crosiera@si.edu

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 29(8) 1486-1498 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD16007
Submitted: 7 January 2016  Accepted: 15 June 2016   Published: 3 August 2016

Abstract

Cheetah are induced ovulators, experiencing short, variable oestrogen waves year-round. Exogenous gonadotrophin administration induces ovulation, but success is variable and often improves if ovaries are quiescent. After affirming the presence of short-term oestrogenic waves, we examined the effect of the timing of administration of exogenous equine and human chorionic gonadotrophins (eCG–hCG) within the oestrogen concentration pattern on subsequent follicle development and oocyte and corpus luteum quality. We also investigated ovarian suppression using an oral progestin (Altrenogest, 7 days) and assessed whether Altrenogest moderated adrenal activity by reducing glucocorticoid metabolites. All cheetahs exhibited short (every ~7–10 days), sporadic, year-round increases in faecal oestradiol punctuated by unpredictable periods (4–10 weeks) of baseline oestradiol (anoestrous). Gonadotrophin (eCG–hCG) efficacy was not affected by oestradiol ‘wave’ pattern if administered ≥3 days after an oestrogen peak. Such cheetahs produced normative faecal progestagen patterns and higher numbers (P < 0.06) of mature oocytes than females given gonadotrophins ≤2 days after an oestradiol peak. Altrenogest supplementation expanded the interval between oestradiol peaks to 12.9 days compared with 7.3 days without progestin pretreatment. Altrenogest-fed females excreted less (P < 0.05) glucocorticoid metabolites than non-supplemented counterparts. Results show that Altrenogest is effective for suppressing follicular activity, may contribute to reduced glucocorticoid production and may result in more effective ovulation induction via gonadotrophin therapy.

Additional keywords: gonadotrophin, oestradiol, ovary, ovulation, progesterone.


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