Testosterone administration to mares during estrus: duration of estrus and diestrus and concentrations of LH and FSH in plasma.

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To study the possible role of ovarian androgens in regulation of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion in the cycling mare, five mature, intact mares were treated with testosterone (20 micrograms/kg of body weight) daily during estrus; five control mares received safflower oil on the same schedule. Mares were teased for estrus and samples of jugular blood were drawn daily through one full estrous cycle. Concentrations of FSH in plasma were measured by a newly developed radioimmunoassay based on anti-ovine FSH serum and radioiodinated equine FSH. Testosterone treatment during estrus had no effect on duration of estrus, diestrus or the total cycle. Concentrations of FSH in plasma during estrus were unaffected by testosterone treatment. However, FSH concentrations in testosterone-treated mares were elevated (P less than .05) compared with controls during mid-diestrus (d 6 through 11). The magnitude and timing of the LH peaks were unaffected by treatment, as was the day on which the first elevated progesterone concentration occurred. These data are consistent with a model of FSH secretion in which ovarian androgens cause an accumulation of FSH in the pituitary during estrus in preparation for the surges that occur in FSH secretion during diestrus.

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Journal of animal science

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