Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
REVIEW

Temperature gradients in vivo influence maturing male and female gametes in mammals: evidence from the cow

R. H. F. Hunter A B , F. López-Gatius C D F and O. López-Albors E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, England.

B Ladfield, Oxnam, Jedburgh TD8 6RJ, Scotland.

C Agrotecnio Center, ETSEA, University of Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain.

D Transfer in Bovine Reproduction SLu, 22300 Barbastro, Spain.

E Department of Anatomy and Comparative Pathology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Murcia, Campus Universitario, 7, 30100 Murcia, Spain.

F Corresponding author. Email: lopezgatiusf@gmail.com

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 29(12) 2301-2304 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD17089
Submitted: 8 March 2017  Accepted: 25 May 2017   Published: 9 June 2017

Abstract

Since 1980 several reports have indicated that temperatures vary between preovulatory follicles and other ovarian tissues in rabbit, cow, pig and human. However, these observations did not achieve prominence; they were regarded as artefacts due to the use of anaesthetics and open surgery (laparotomy). Recently, without resorting to anaesthesia or surgery, direct measurements of temperature in preovulatory follicles have been performed in the cow by means of a thermistor probe introduced into the antrum under ultrasonic guidance. Such follicles revealed a mean antral (follicular fluid) temperature 0.74°C and 1.54°C cooler than uterine surface and rectal temperatures respectively in ovulating cows, whereas no such temperature differences were detected in non-ovulating cows. Cows are predominantly monovular and preovulatory follicles attain a diameter of 15–22 mm or more. These features and the timescale of response to the preovulatory gonadotrophin surge make them a valuable model for the human preovulatory follicle. Temperature gradients are interpreted primarily in a context of final maturation of gametes immediately before the onset of fertilisation. Preovulatory follicular temperature in women could be assessed by a comparable approach and might become a valuable selection guide for oocyte viability.

Additional keywords: fertilisation, Graafian follicle, ovary, ovulation.


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