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Theriogenology. 2014 May;81(8):1101-1107.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2014.01.038. Epub 2014 Feb 1.

Luteotrophic effect of ovulation-inducing factor/nerve growth factor present in the seminal plasma of llamas.

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Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile; Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Veterinarias, Escuela de Postgrado, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de, Valdivia, Chile.
Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile. Electronic address:


The hypothesis that ovulation-inducing factor/nerve growth factor (OIF/NGF) isolated from llama seminal plasma exerts a luteotrophic effect was tested by examining changes in circulating concentrations of LH and progesterone, and the vascular perfusion of the ovulatory follicle and developing CL. Female llamas with a growing follicle of 8 mm or greater in diameter were assigned randomly to one of three groups (n = 10 llamas per group) and given a single intramuscular dose of PBS (1 mL), GnRH (50 μg), or purified OIF/NGF (1.0 mg). Cineloops of ultrasonographic images of the ovary containing the dominant follicle were recorded in brightness and power Doppler modalities. Llamas were examined every 4 hours from the day of treatment (Day 0) until ovulation, and every other day thereafter to Day 16. Still frames were extracted from cineloops for computer-assisted analysis of the vascular area of the preovulatory follicle from treatment to ovulation and of the growing and regressing phases of subsequent CL development. Blood samples were collected for the measurement of plasma LH and progesterone concentrations. The diameter of the dominant follicle at the time of treatment did not differ among groups (P = 0.48). No ovulations were detected in the PBS group but were detected in all llamas given GnRH or OIF/NGF (0/10, 10/10, and 10/10, respectively; P < 0.0001). No difference was detected between the GnRH and OIF/NGF groups in the interval from treatment to ovulation (32.0 ± 1.9 and 30.4 ± 5.7 hours, respectively; P = 0.41) or in maximum CL diameter (13.1 ± 0.4 and 13.5 ± 0.3 mm, respectively; P = 0.44). The preovulatory follicle of llamas treated with OIF/NGF had a greater vascular area at 4 hours after treatment than that of the GnRH group (P < 0.001). Similarly, the luteal tissue of llamas treated with purified OIF/NGF had a greater vascular area than that of the GnRH group on Day 6 after treatment (P < 0.001). The preovulatory surge in plasma LH concentration began, and peaked 1 to 2 hours later in the OIF/NGF group than in the GnRH group (P < 0.05). Plasma progesterone concentration was higher on Day 6 in the OIF/NGF group than in the GnRH group (P < 0.001). Results support the hypothesis that OIF/NGF exerts a luteotrophic effect by altering the secretion pattern of LH and enhancing tissue vascularization during the periovulatory period and early stages of CL development.


CL; Llama; Nerve growth factor; Ovulation-inducing factor

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