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Theriogenology. 1996 Apr 15;45(6):1211-9.

Testosterone secretion during early pregnancy in mares.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


We have characterized the testosterone secretion pattern during the first 80 d of pregnancy in mares and determined the sources that contribute to circulating testosterone levels during this period. Ten untreated, pregnant mares (Group 1), 10 altrenogest-treated, pregnant mares (Group 2), and 10 altrenogest-treated, pregnant mares in which the CL was eliminated by administration of PGF-2alpha on Day 16 (Group 3) were used in this study. Complete luteolysis occurred following PGF-2alpha administration in all mares in Group 3. Six of the 10 mares in Group 3 did not have an active CL until after Day 60 of pregnancy (Group 3a) and were included in the analysis. The remaining four mares developed a new CL on Days 32, 40, 43 and 49 of pregnancy and were excluded from analysis. Mares without a functional CL (Group 3a) had significantly lower testosterone concentrations than mares with a functional CL (Groups 1 and 2), during the period before equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) secretion. At the onset of eCG secretion, testosterone concentrations increased rapidly but the rate of increase decreased with time in mares with a functional CL (Groups 1 and 2). In mares without a functional CL (Group 3a), testosterone concentrations did not increase at the onset of eCG secretion but increased at a gradually increasing rate after Day 50. The lower testosterone concentration in mares without a functional CL before eCG secretion suggests that the CL contributes significantly to the circulating testosterone concentration during the period before eCG secretion. The close time relationship between the onset of eCG secretion and the increase in testosterone secretion in mares with a functional CL and the lack of a testosterone increase in pregnant mares without a functional CL suggest that the increase in testosterone secretion after Day 35 of pregnancy is the result of eCG-stimulated, luteal testosterone synthesis.


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