Ovarian antral follicle populations and embryo production in cattle
Amanda Fonseca Zangirolamo, Fabio Morotti, Nathalia Covre da Silva, Tamires Korchovei Sanches, Marcelo M. Seneda
Reproductive biotechniques such as embryo production are important tools to increase the reproductive performance in cattle in a short time. In this context, the antral follicle count (AFC), which reflects the population of antral follicles present in an ovary, has been indicated as an important phenotypic characteristic related to female fertility and closely correlated to the performance of in vivo and in vitro embryo production (IVEP). A positive correlation was evidenced between AFC and oocyte retrieval by ovum pick up (OPU) sessions and and with the number of embryos produced. Several studies have reported that females with a high AFC had greater embryo yields compared to those with medium and low AFC. However, controversial results were obtained by studies conducted in different bovine breeds. Many conflicting data may be due to the differences in the experimental design, particularly regarding the classification of animals in AFC groups, subspecies particularities, herd aptitude or even issues related to animal management. Therefore, aspects such as the choice of donor, type of aspirated follicles and the stage of follicular wave need to be clarified. Thus, this text aims to discuss the use of AFC as a reproductive tool and its applications in the in vivo and in vitro production of embryos, besides describing consistent results and new challenges regarding AFC and embryo production.
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