Methods to study ovarian function in monovulatory species using the cow as a model
Monique Tomazele Rovani, Bernardo Garziera Gasperin, Rogério Ferreira, Raj Duggavathi, Vilceu Bordignon, Paulo Bayard Dias Gonçalves
In this review, we discuss the utility of the cow as an in vivo model to study the regulation of ovarian functions in monovular species. It is increasingly becoming clear that besides endocrine control, locally produced factors play pivotal roles during dominant follicle selection, oocyte maturation, ovulation and luteolysis. Although in vitro culture systems have been used to study these processes, definitive understanding the interactions between endocrine and local factors requires appropriate in vivo models. Most of the experimental approaches to study ovarian functions in vivo in large animals are based on the use of ultrasonography and considerable progress in this field has been made during the last thirty years. It has been shown that cows are an excellent model to collect samples (e.g., follicular fluid, granulosa cells, oocytes) from live animals at specific stages of follicular development in order to study mechanisms of intrafollicular factors in a physiological endocrine environment. In addition to support fundamental studies, the cow model has contributed immensely to the refinement of assisted reproductive technologies, which are now widely used not only in farm animals but also in humans.
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