Histological and steroidogenic changes in dominant ovarian follicles during oestradiol-induced atresia in heifers

Christopher R. Burke, Horacio Cárdenas, Martin L. Mussard, Michael L. Day*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Histological and steroidogenic changes within dominant ovarian follicles (DFs) undergoing atresia following systemic administration of oestradiol benzoate (ODB) were characterized in beef heifers. At 5.6 ± 0.1 days after the onset of oestrus, heifers received 1 mg ODB i.m./500 kg body weight (ODB; n = 15) or served as controls (n = 15). Timing of treatment initiation was designated as hour (h) 0 on day (d) 0, and coincided with the presence of the DF of the first follicular wave (DF1). Within treatments, the DF1 was collected following ovariectomy in four animals at h 12, h 36 or after ultrasonic detection of a new wave (NW) of ovarian follicular development. In heifers of the NW groups (n = 7 per treatment), blood samples were collected at intervals of 20 min for 12 h beginning at h - 12, 0, 24 and 48 to characterize circulating LH patterns. Administration of ODB suppressed (P < 0.01) mean concentrations of LH at h 24 and h 48 by preventing (P < 0.05) the increase in LH pulse amplitude observed in controls, but had no effect on FSH. Follicular fluid (FF) concentrations of androgens and oestradiol were reduced at h 36 in the ODB-treated group. The diameter of the DF1 and the number of granulosa cell layers were also reduced in ODB-treated as compared with control heifers. Treatment differences were not observed in the proportion of apoptotic granulosa cells as assessed using the TUNEL assay method, and timing of a new wave of follicular development (d 4.6 ± 0.2) was similar (P > 0.1) among treatments. A prominent characteristic of oestradiol-induced atresia of the DF1 of the oestrous cycle in heifers was a loss in oestrogenic function associated with reduced LH support. However, the timing of new follicular development may be influenced by a factor(s) other than the status of the DF undergoing oestradiol-induced atresia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-620
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cell Biology


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