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Reproduction. 2002 Apr;123(4):527-33.

Increased ovulation rate in gilts treated with dihydrotestosterone.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2029 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Treatment with testosterone increases ovulation rate in pigs. The present study was conducted to examine the effects of 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a non-aromatizable androgen receptor ligand, on ovulation rate and amounts of androgen receptor and FSH receptor mRNAs in postpubertal gilts. In Expt 1, ovulation rate in response to daily i.m. injections of 0, 6, 60 or 600 microg DHT kg(-1) body weight from day 13 of the oestrous cycle (day 0 = day 1 of oestrus) to the following oestrus increased with each dose of DHT (P < 0.05). The mean increase in number of corpora lutea ranged from approximately three to 17 over the three dosages of DHT. In Expt 2, gilts treated daily with 60 microg DHT kg(-1) body weight during the early follicular phase (from day 13 to day 16), coincident with follicular recruitment, or the late follicular phase (day 17 to oestrus), had higher (P < 0.05) rates of ovulation compared with gilts that received vehicle, and were not different from gilts treated with DHT from day 13 to oestrus. Percentage recovery of day 3 embryos was not altered when gilts were treated from day 13 to day 16 or from day 17 to oestrus; however, treatment of gilts with DHT from day 13 to oestrus decreased recovery of day 3 (Expt 1) or day 11 (Expt 2) conceptuses. Daily administration of 6 microg DHT kg(-1) body weight to gilts from day 13 of the oestrous cycle to the following oestrus (Expt 3) did not affect the relative amounts of androgen receptor mRNA, but increased (P < 0.05) the amounts of FSH receptor mRNA in preovulatory follicles as determined by RT-PCR. The results of these experiments indicate that androgens may regulate ovulation rate in gilts. One of the roles of androgens might be regulation of the amounts of FSH receptor mRNA in ovarian follicles.

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