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4 Relationship Between Ovarian Vascularity, Cumulus–Oocyte Morphology and Luteal Development in Four-Month-Old Calves After FSH Stimulation

S. L. Caunce A , A. R. T. Krause A , F. C. F. Dias A , G. P. Adams A and J. Singh A
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University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 30(1) 141-141
Published: 4 December 2017


The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of LH on the blood flow to the ovaries of 4-month-old calves after 2 FSH stimulation protocols, and to examine the relationship between ovarian vascularity after superstimulation to the morphology of the cumulus–oocyte complexes (COC) and luteal function. We hypothesise that ovarian vascularity (detected by 3-dimensional (3D) analysis of Doppler ultrasound cineloops) will increase in response to LH, and the magnitude of change in vascularity would be predictive of (1) a greater proportion of expanded COC, (2) greater development of luteal tissue volume and vascularity at 3 and 7 days after follicle aspiration, and (3) higher levels of plasma progesterone. Ovarian superstimulation was initiated at the beginning of an induced follicular wave in 4-month-old beef calves (n = 16), and beef cattle >16 months of age (control group, adults; n = 8) using either a traditional 4-day or an extended 7-day FSH protocol (n = 8 calves and n = 4 controls per group). Power Doppler ultrasound cineloops were recorded immediately before (i.e. 12 h after the last FSH treatment) and 24 h after LH treatment (before ultrasound-guided follicular aspiration for oocyte collection) to assess ovarian vascularity, and 3 and 7 days after follicular aspiration to assess luteal tissue volume and vascularity. Video segments were analysed in Fiji and Imaris software to obtain the 3D ovarian vascularity index (ratio of blood flow volume to tissue volume). The ovarian vascularity index tended to increase >1.7-fold in response to exogenous LH in both prepubertal calves (pre-LH 1.5 ± 0.4% v. post-LH 2.6 ± 0.7%; P = 0.08) and adult cattle (pre-LH 2.2 ± 0.6% v. post-LH 4.7 ± 0.9%; P = 0.07). Calves with a recovery of >75% of expanded COC had a higher ovarian vascularity index (10.7 ± 2.6% v. 4.8 ± 1.6%; P = 0.06) and luteal vascularity index (15.7 ± 4.5% v. 5.7 ± 2.1%; P < 0.05) 7 days after aspiration than those with <75% expanded COC. Calves in the 7-day FSH protocol had >10-fold higher concentration of plasma progesterone on Day 3 (12.7 ± 7.3 ng mL−1 v. 1.2 ± 0.4 ng mL−1; P < 0.05) and Day 5 (50.6 ± 28.0 ng mL−1 v. 4.5 ± 1.0 ng mL−1; P < 0.05), and ~2-fold higher luteal vascularity index at 7 days after follicle aspiration (13.7 ± 4.6% v. 7.7 ± 2.8%; P < 0.05) than calves in the 4-day FSH protocol, whereas no difference (P > 0.05) was found in control (adult) animals. In conclusion, there was an increase in ovarian vascularity resulting from LH treatment in prepubertal calves and adult cattle. A greater proportion of expansion of COC at 24 h after LH treatment (an indicator of follicular maturation) was related to higher ovarian and luteal vascularity on Day 7 after collection in prepubertal calves, but not in adults. Luteal vascularity on Day 3 was reflective of plasma progesterone concentration, and prepubertal calves in the 7-day FSH protocol had greater plasma progesterone than calves in the 4-day FSH protocol. The use of FSH in calves allows a greater number of follicles for oocyte collection as it does in adult cattle.

Research was supported by an NSERC grant.

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