Plasma gonadotropins and ovarian hormones during the estrous cycle in high compared to low ovulation rate gilts

R. V. Knox, G. Vatzias, C. H. Naber, D. R. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mature gilts classified by low (12 to 16 corpora lutea [CL], n = 6) or high (17 to 26 CL, n = 5) ovulation rate (OR) were compared for plasma follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone, estradiol-17β, and inhibin during an estrous cycle. Gilts were checked for estrus at 8-h intervals beginning on d 18. Blood samples were collected at 8-h intervals beginning on d 18 of the third estrous cycle and continued for one complete estrous cycle. Analysis for FSH and LH was performed on samples collected at 8-h intervals and for ovarian hormones on samples collected at 24-h intervals. The data were standardized to the peak of LH at fourth (d 0) and fifth estrus for the follicular phase and analyzed in discrete periods during the periovulatory (-1, 0, +1 d relative to LH peak), early- luteal (d 1 to 5), mid-luteal (d 6 to 10), late-luteal (11 to 15), periluteolytic (-1, 0, +1 d relative to progesterone decline), and follicular (5 d prior to fifth estrus) phases of the estrous cycle. The number of CL during the sampling estrous cycle was greater (P < 0.005) for the high vs low OR gilts (18.8 vs 14.3) and again (P < 0.001) in the cycle subsequent to hormone measurement (20.9 vs 14.7). For high-OR gilts, FSH was greater during the ovulatory period (P = 0.002), the mid- (P < 0.05) and late-luteal phases (P = 0.01), and tended to be elevated during the early-luteal (P = 0.06), but not the luteolytic or follicular periods. LH was greater in high-OR gilts during the ovulatory period (P < 0.005), but not at other periods during the cycle. In high-OR gilts, progesterone was greater in the mid, late, and ovulatory phases (P < 0.005), but not in the follicular, ovulatory, and early-luteal phases. Concentrations of estradiol-17/5 were not different between OR groups during the cycle. Inhibin was greater for the high OR group (P < 0.005) during the early, mid, late, luteolytic, and follicular phases (P < 0.001). The duration of the follicular phase (from last baseline estrogen value to the LH peak) was 6.5 ± 0.5 d and was not affected by OR group. These results indicate that elevated concentrations of both FSH and LH are associated with increased ovulation rate during the ovulatory phase, but that only elevated FSH during much of the luteal phase is associated with increased ovulation rate. Of the ovarian hormones, both inhibin and progesterone are highly related to greater ovulation rates. These findings could aid in understanding how ovulation rate is controlled in pigs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
  • Inhibin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Ovulation Rate
  • Pigs
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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