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1 June 2001 Decline in Circulating Estradiol During the Periovulatory Period Is Correlated with Decreases in Estradiol and Androgen, and in Messenger RNA for P450 Aromatase and P450 17α-Hydroxylase, in Bovine Preovulatory Follicles
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Abstract

The preovulatory surge of gonadotropins induces meiotic maturation of the oocyte, the follicular/luteal phase shift in hormone production, and ovulation. This complex and rapid series of developmental changes is difficult to study in large mammals, such as primates and ruminants, because variability in the length of individual reproductive cycles makes it virtually impossible to predict the time of the LH surge. We have validated an experimental model for inducing the LH surge and ovulation in cattle and used it to study the sequence of changes in hormone secretion and some of the mechanisms of these changes. Luteolysis and a follicular phase were induced by injection of prostaglandin F; injection of a GnRH analogue 36 h later induced an LH surge and ovulation. The LH surge peaked 2 h after GnRH and ovulation followed 22–31 h after the surge, consistent with the periovulatory interval in natural cycles. The ensuing luteal phase was normal, both in length and in concentrations of circulating progesterone. In experiment I, the uteroovarian effluent was collected, via cannulation of the vena cava, at frequent intervals relative to GnRH injection. Circulating estradiol declined progressively after GnRH, reaching a nadir by 8–10 h before ovulation, whereas concentrations of androstenedione and testosterone remained constant. In experiment II, preovulatory follicles were obtained at 0, 3.5, 6, 12, 18, or 24 h after GnRH. Concentrations of androgens and estradiol were measured in follicular fluid and medium from cultures of follicle wall (theca granulosa cells); steady-state levels of mRNA for 17α-hydroxylase (17αOH) and P450 aromatase were measured in follicular tissue. Shortly after the LH surge (3.5 h post-GnRH) there was an acute increase in the capacity of follicular tissue to secrete androstenedione, but not estradiol, in vitro. Thereafter, both androgens and estradiol declined, both in follicular fluid and in medium collected from cultures of follicle wall. Levels of mRNA for 17αOH and aromatase in follicle wall decreased significantly by 6 h after GnRH, suggesting that declining levels of these enzymes underlie the decreases in steroid production by follicular cells. These results show that in cattle the preovulatory decrease in follicular estradiol production is mediated by redundant mechanisms, because androgen production and the capacity of granulosa cells to convert androgens to estradiol decline coordinately, in concert with decreases in mRNA for 17αOH and P450 aromatase.

C. M. Komar, A. K. Berndtson, A. C. O. Evans, and J. E. Fortune "Decline in Circulating Estradiol During the Periovulatory Period Is Correlated with Decreases in Estradiol and Androgen, and in Messenger RNA for P450 Aromatase and P450 17α-Hydroxylase, in Bovine Preovulatory Follicles," Biology of Reproduction 64(6), 1797-1805, (1 June 2001). https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod64.6.1797
Received: 10 August 2000; Accepted: 1 February 2001; Published: 1 June 2001
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