Pituitary responsiveness to GnRH in mares following deslorelin acetate implantation to hasten ovulation

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The present experiment characterized the pituitary responsiveness to exogenous GnRH in the first 10 d after ovulation following commercially available deslorelin acetate implantation at the normal dosage for hastening ovulation in mares. Twelve mature, cyclic mares were assessed daily for estrus and three times weekly for ovarian activity starting May 1. Mares achieving a follicle at least 25 mm in diameter or showing signs of estrus were checked daily thereafter for ovarian characteristics. When a follicle >30 mm was detected, mares were administered either a single deslorelin acetate implant or a sham injection and then assessed daily for ovulation. On d 1, 4, 7, and 10 following ovulation, each mare was challenged i.v. with 50 μg GnRH, and blood samples were collected to characterize the LH and FSH responses. The size of the largest follicle on the day of treatment did not differ (P = 0.89) between groups. The number of days from treatment to ovulation was shorter (P < 0.001) by 2.0 d for the treated mares indicating a hastening of ovulation. The size of the largest follicle present on the days of GnRH challenge was larger in the treated mares on d 1 (P = 0.007) but smaller on d 10 (P = 0.02). In addition, the interovulatory interval was longer (P = 0.036) in the treated mares relative to controls by 4.4 d. Concentrations of FSH in plasma of the treated mares were lower (P < 0.05) than control concentrations from d 3 to 12; LH concentrations in the treated mares were lower (P < 0.05) relative to controls on d 0 to 5, d 7, and again on d 20 to 23. Progesterone values were the same (P = 0.99) for both groups from 2 d before ovulation though d 23. There was an interaction of treatment, day, and time of sampling (P < 0.001) for LH and FSH concentrations after injection of GnRH. Both the LH and FSH responses were suppressed (P < 0.009) in the treated mares relative to controls on d 1, 4, and 7; by d 10, the responses of the two groups were equivalent. In conclusion, deslorelin administration in this manner increased the interovulatory interval, consistently suppressed plasma LH and FSH concentrations, and resulted in a complete lack of responsiveness of LH and FSH to GnRH stimulation at the dose used during the first 7 d after the induced ovulation. Together, these results are consistent with a temporary down-regulation of the pituitary gland in response to deslorelin administered in this manner. ©2002 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Animal Science

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