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Biol Reprod. 2002 Jan;66(1):120-6.

Follicle selection in cattle: dynamics of follicular fluid factors during development of follicle dominance.

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  • 1Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Follicle diameter deviation during follicular waves in cattle begins with a reduction in growth rates of developing subordinate follicles, in contrast to the maintenance of a constant growth rate by a developing dominant follicle. In experiment 1, the temporal changes encompassing deviation in concentrations of follicular fluid factors relative to one another in the three largest follicles (F1, F2, and F3) were studied. Follicular fluid samples were collected when F1 reached diameter ranges of 7.0-7.9, 8.0-8.9, 9.0-9.9, and 10.0-10.9 mm (n = 12 per range). The first increase (P < 0.05) in the difference between F1 and F2 for estradiol occurred at the 8.0- to 8.9-mm range, which was one range earlier than for diameter (P < 0.05). Free insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 concentrations in F1 were similar among diameter ranges, but concentrations in F1 were higher (P < 0.05) than in F2 for each range except 7.0-7.9 mm. Concentrations of free IGF-1 in F2 decreased (P < 0.05). No significant differences were detected in concentrations of progesterone, androstenedione, total inhibin, and inhibin-A. Averaged over follicles, inhibin-B decreased (P < 0.05) between the 8.0- to 8.9- and 10.0- to 10.9-mm ranges, and activin-A increased (P < 0.05) between the 7.0- to 7.9- and 9.0- to 9.9-mm ranges. However, no differences were found among follicles. In experiment 2, changes associated with the development of dominance by F2 were studied using ablation of F1 at the beginning of expected deviation (F1, 8.5 mm; Hour 0) as the reference point. Follicular fluid factors were compared at Hour 12 between F2 of a control group (F1 intact; n = 10) and an ablated group (F1 ablated; n = 10). Diameter (P < 0.02), estradiol (P < 0.001), free IGF-1 (P < 0.002), and progesterone (P < 0.003) were greater and IGF-binding protein-2 was lower (P < 0.01) in F2 of the ablated group at Hour 12. No differences were detected in concentrations of androstenedione, total inhibin, and inhibin-A. The results of the two experiments indicated, on a temporal basis, that intrafollicular changes in estradiol and the IGF system, but not in the inhibin/activin system, could account for a reported greater FSH responsiveness by the future dominant follicle than by the future subordinate follicles by the beginning of diameter deviation in cattle.

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