Large antral follicles grow in waves in the ewe, and each wave is triggered by a peak in serum concentrations of FSH. The existence of follicular dominance in the ewe is unclear. The objective of experiment 1 was to determine if an endogenously driven follicular wave could emerge during the growth phase of a wave induced by injection of ovine FSH (oFSH). Cyclic ewes (n = 7) were given oFSH (two injections of 0.5 μg/kg; s.c.; 8 h apart) on 2 separate days equally spaced in the interval between the first two endogenously driven follicular waves of an estrous cycle. Injection of oFSH induced two follicular waves in the interval between the first two endogenously driven waves of the cycle. The second endogenously driven wave of the estrous cycle emerged in the midgrowth phase of a follicular wave induced by injection of oFSH and its day of emergence, and growth pattern did not differ from that of the equivalent wave in control ewes (emerging 5.4 ± 0.2 and 4.8 ± 0.5 days after ovulation, respectively; P > 0.05). Experiment 2 was designed to determine if emergence of follicular waves could be induced on a daily basis. Six anestrus ewes were given oFSH (two injections of 0.35 μg/kg; s.c.; 8 h apart) on each of 4 days, starting 24 h after the expected time of an endogenously driven FSH peak. Each injection of oFSH resulted in a discrete peak in serum FSH concentrations and the emergence of a new follicular wave. The present findings provide evidence for the lack of follicular dominance in the ewe.
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Vol. 83 • No. 1