Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

The periovulatory period in cattle: progesterone, prostaglandins, oxytocin and ADAMTS proteases

J.E. Fortune, E.L. Willis, P.J. Bridges, C.S. Yang

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Ovulation has long been recognized as one of the most dramatic reproductive processes. Decades of research on how the LH/FSH surge leads to ovulation have made it clear that the surge induces a very complex cascade of changes. Studies of genetically modified mice have pointed to progesterone (P4) and its receptor (PGR) and the prostaglandins (PGs) as critical components of the ovulatory cascade. In cattle, the gonadotropin surge also induces oxytocin (OT), which does not appear to increase in rodent periovulatory follicles. This review is an attempt to summarize studies by our laboratory on the temporal patterns, roles, regulation, and interrelationships among P4/PGR, PGs, and OT in bovine periovulatory follicles. Most of these results are based on an experimental model in which the dominant follicle of the first follicular wave of the estrous cycle is induced to develop into a preovulatory follicle by injection of PGF2α on Day 6 of the cycle, followed 36 h later by an injection of GnRH to induce the LH/FSH surge. The results suggest that the effects of the gonadotropin surge on PG production by bovine granulosa cells are mediated by the gonadotropininduced increase in intrafollicular P4 and that P4 acts by binding to its nuclear receptor and increasing the abundance of mRNA for the enzyme PTGS2 (COX-2). Our data thus far also support the hypothesis that PGs, especially PGE2, can stimulate progesterone secretion by both follicular cell types and suggest a positive feedback relationship between P4/PGR and the PGs. Additional results suggest a positive feedback loop between P4/PGR and OT. The finding that levels of mRNA for several ADAMTS proteases are regulated by the LH/FSH surge in vivo and by P4/PGR and/or PGs in vitro suggests a role for this family of proteases in remodeling the bovine ovulatory follicle in preparation for ovulation and the formation of the corpus luteum. It is important to remember that a process essential for reproduction, such as ovulation, may involve redundant mechanisms and that these mechanisms may have evolved differently from rodents in larger mammalian species, such as ruminants and humans.


ovary, ovarian follicle, ovulation, cattle, progesterone, prostaglandins, ADAMTS proteases, oxytocin.
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