The increase in LH concentrations at the time of the decrease in FSH concentrations during follicle deviation in mares was studied to determine the role of LH in the production of estradiol and immunoreactive inhibin (ir-inhibin). Ten days after ovulation, all follicles ≥6 mm were ablated, prostaglandin F2α was given, and either 0 mg (control group, n = 15) or 100 mg of progesterone in safflower oil (treated group, n = 16) was given daily for 14 days, encompassing the day of diameter deviation. The follicular and hormonal data were normalized to the expected day of the beginning of diameter deviation when the largest follicle first reached ≥20 mm (Day 0). The experimentally induced decrease in LH concentrations during follicle deviation beginning on Day −4 delayed and stunted the increase in circulating concentrations of ir-inhibin and estradiol beginning on Days −3 and −1, respectively, but did not alter the predeviation FSH surge and the initiation of diameter deviation between the two largest follicles. Combined for both groups, the interval to the expected day of deviation was 16.6 days after ovulation when the largest follicle was a mean of 21.6 mm. After deviation, the largest follicle started to regress in the treated group beginning on Day 1 and was associated with decreased concentrations of ir-inhibin and estradiol, and increased concentrations of FSH. The negative influence of the dominant follicle on the postdeviation decrease in FSH observed in the control group was alleviated and concentrations resurged in the treated group. Apparently this is the first in vivo evidence that the increase in LH that precedes follicle deviation has a positive effect in supporting the production of inhibin during diameter deviation. It was concluded that the increase in LH concentrations before diameter deviation played a role in the production of estradiol and inhibin by the largest follicle during deviation.
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