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G. J. Killian, D. A. Chapman, J. F. Kavanaugh, D. R. Deaver, and H. B. Wiggin

Summary. The oviducts of 4 cows were cannulated and oviduct fluid was collected daily from the exteriorized cannulas for a total of 5 oestrous cycles. Daily serum samples were assayed for oestradiol-17β and progesterone to monitor the oestrous cycle. Data for each cycle were compared for oviduct fluid collected during the non-luteal phase (serum progesterone ⩽ 1·5 ng/ml) and the luteal phase (serum progesterone > 1·5 ng/ml). During the non-luteal phase oviduct fluid volume was higher and the osmolality was lower than during the luteal phase. Total protein, cholesterol and phospholipid secreted daily was greater during the non-luteal phase. Cholesterol and protein concentrations were generally lower during the non-luteal phase, but phospholipid concentrations were generally higher. About 40% of the phospholipid in oviduct fluid was phosphatidylcholine and lysophosphatidylcholine, while phosphatidylinositol and lysophosphatidylinositol accounted for 20%. The ratio of 1-acyl-phospholipid to diacylphospholipid increased during the non-luteal phase. An increased cholesterol to phospholipid ratio, and a decreased cholesterol to protein ratio in oviduct fluid also were associated with the non-luteal phase. Changes in the lipid composition of oviduct fluid during the oestrous cycle may play a role in the preparation of gametes for fertilization.

Keywords: oviduct fluid; cow; phospholipid; cholesterol; protein