The effects of ultrasound morphology, vascularity, and follicular-fluid hormones of the preovulatory follicle on oocyte recovery rate and on follicle and oocyte maturity rates were studied for 60 spontaneous and solitary preovulatory follicles in mares. An ovulation-inducing dose of hCG was given when the follicle was ≥32 mm (Hour 0), and a procedure for oocyte recovery was done 30 h later (Hour 30). Between Hours 0 and 30, diameter of the follicle increased less and circulating estradiol (E2) concentrations decreased more in groups with successful versus nonsuccessful oocyte recovery and in groups with mature versus immature recovered oocytes, as indicated by significant interactions of group and hour. Significant differences in blood-flow end points between groups were not detected. At Hour 30, the frequency of granulosa serration, an indicator of impending ovulation, was higher (P < 0.001), and the number and expansion of granulosa cells in the lavaging fluid, indicators of follicle maturity, were greater in the oocyte-recovery group and in the oocyte-mature group. Follicular-fluid concentrations of E2, progesterone, and free insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1 were not different between the oocyte-recovery and -nonrecovery groups. Concentration of progesterone was significantly greater, and E2 and free IGF1 were less in the oocyte-mature than in the immature groups. Results indicated that the post-hCG oocyte-recovery and oocyte-maturity rates were positively affected by follicle maturity. Greater follicular-fluid progesterone and lower E2 and free IGF concentrations were associated temporally with maturation of the oocyte but not with maturation of the follicle.
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Vol. 77 • No. 2