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  • Author: J P Kastelic x
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O. J. Ginther, L. Knopf and J. P. Kastelic

Summary. For 18 two-wave interovulatory intervals in heifers, the follicular waves were first detected on Days −0·2 ± 0·1 and 9·6 ± 0·2, and for 4 three-wave intervals on Days −0·5 ± 0·3, 9·0 ± 0·0 and 16·0 ± 1·1 (ovulation is Day 0). The day-to-day mean diameter profile of the dominant follicle of the 1st wave and the day of emergence of the 2nd wave were not significantly different between 2-wave and 3-wave intervals. There were no indications, therefore, that events occurring during the first half of the interovulatory interval were associated with the later emergence of a 3rd wave. The dominant ovulatory follicle differed significantly (P < 0·05 at least) between 2-wave and 3-wave intervals in day of emergence (Day 9·6 ± 0·2 and 16·0 ± 1·1), length of interval from emergence of follicle to ovulation (10·9 ± 0·4 and 6·8 ± 0·6 days), and diameter on day before ovulation (16·5 ± 0·4 and 13·9 ± 0·4 mm). The mean length of 2-wave interovulatory intervals (20·4 ± 0·3 days) was shorter (P < 0·01) than for 3-wave intervals (22·8 ± 0·6 days). The mean day of luteal regression for 2-wave and 3-wave intervals was 16·5 ± 0·4 and 19·2 ± 0·5 (P < 0·01). For all intervals, luteal regression occurred after emergence of the ovulatory wave, and the next wave did not emerge until near the day of ovulation at the onset of the subsequent interovulatory interval. In conclusion, the emergence of a 3rd wave was associated with a longer luteal phase, and the viable dominant follicle present at the time of luteolysis became the ovulatory follicle.

Keywords: follicles; corpus luteum; cattle; follicular waves

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J. P. Kastelic, R. B. Cook and G. H. Coulter

A novel model was used to determine the role of the scrotum and testes in scrotal/testicular thermoregulation in bulls and rams. Eleven yearling bulls and 12 yearling rams were used at an ambient temperature of 15°C. The distal lateral aspects and entire ventral part of the scrotum were incised under caudal epidural analgesia (xylazine, 0.07 mg ml−1). Both testes were withdrawn from the scrotum, the vaginal tunic was removed and one testis was replaced in the scrotum. Surface and internal temperatures were measured with infrared thermography and needle thermocouples, respectively. Temperature gradients (difference in temperature from top to bottom; °C) for bulls and rams, respectively, were: scrotal surface (with replaced testis) 2.1 and 3.5; scrotal surface (without testis) 2.5 and 3.6; scrotal subcutaneous (with replaced testis) 1.0 and 0.7; testicular subtunic (without scrotum) −0.7 and −0.3; deep intratesticular (with scrotum) −0.2 and −0.6; and deep intratesticular (without scrotum) −0.5 and −0.5. Results supported the hypotheses that the scrotum has a positive temperature gradient (warmer at the top than the bottom) and that the testis has a negative temperature gradient (warmer at the bottom than the top). These opposing gradients apparently complement one another, resulting in a relatively uniform intratesticular temperature, below body core temperature, that is essential for normal sperm production. The scrotum substantially increased intratesticular temperature, but scrotal surface temperature was not significantly affected by the presence of a testis.

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G. P. Adams, R. L. Matteri, J. P. Kastelic, J. C. H. Ko and O. J. Ginther

Summary. The effects of ablation of a dominant follicle and treatment with follicular fluid on circulating concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were studied and the temporal relationships between surges of FSH and follicular waves were studied in heifers with two or three follicular waves/interovulatory interval. Cauterization of the dominant follicle on Day 3 or Day 5 (ovulation on Day 0) (six control and six treated heifers/day) resulted in a surge (P < 0·05) in FSH beginning the day after cautery. The FSH surge prior to wave 2 (first post-treatment follicular wave) occurred 4 days (Day 3 cautery) and 2 days (Day 5 cautery) before the surge in control groups, corresponding to a 4-day and a 2-day advance in emergence of wave 2 compared with controls. It was concluded that the dominant follicle on Day 3 and Day 5 was associated with the suppression of circulating FSH concentrations. Heifers (n = 4/group) were untreated or treated intravenously with a proteinaceous fraction of bovine follicular fluid on Days 0–3, 3–6, or 6–11. Concentrations of FSH were suppressed (P < 0·05) for the duration of treatment, regardless of the days of treatment. Cessation of treatment was followed within 1 day by the start of a surge in FSH. The FSH surge prior to wave 2 occurred 2 days earlier (treatment on Days 0–3), 1 day later (treatment on Days 3–6), and 6 days later (treatment on Days 6–11) than in controls, corresponding to an equivalent advance or delay, respectively, in the emergence of wave 2 compared with controls. The results suggest that the effects of exogenous follicular fluid on follicular development were mediated, in whole or in part, by altering plasma FSH concentrations. Control heifers combined for the two experiments were separated into those with 2-wave (n = 11) or 3-wave (n = 5) interovulatory intervals. Two-wave heifers had two FSH surges and 3-wave heifers had three apparent FSH surges during the interovulatory interval. Results of the cautery and follicular fluid experiments indicated that a surge in FSH necessarily preceded the emergence of a wave. The FSH surges in treated and control heifers began 2–4 days before the detectable (ultrasound) emergence of a follicular wave (follicles of 4 and 5 mm), peaked 1 or 2 days before emergence and began to decrease approximately when the follicles of a wave begin to diverge into a dominant follicle and subordinate follicles (follicles 6–7 mm).

Keywords: FSH; follicles; follicular waves; follicular fluid; inhibin; heifer

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J. C. H. Ko, J. P. Kastelic, M. R. Del Campo and O. J. Ginther

Summary. Two hypotheses were tested: (1) a dominant follicle causes regression of its subordinate follicles, and (2) a dominant follicle during its growing phase suppresses the emergence of the next wave. Cyclic heifers were randomly assigned to one of four groups (6 heifers/group): cauterization of the dominant follicle of Wave 1 or sham surgery (control) on Day 3 or Day 5 (day of ovulation = Day 0). Ultrasonic monitoring of individually identified follicles was done once daily throughout the interovulatory interval. The onset of regression (decreasing diameter) of the largest subordinate follicle of Wave 1 was delayed (P < 0·01) by cauterization of the dominant follicle of Wave 1 on Day 3 compared to controls (mean onset of regression, Days 10·8 ± 2·1 vs 4·3 ± 0·4). Cauterization of the dominant follicle of Wave 1 on Days 3 or 5 caused early emergence (P < 0·01) of Wave 2 when compared to controls (Day-3 groups: Days 5·5 ± 0·4 vs 9·6 ± 0·7; Day-5 groups: Days 7·0 ± 0·3 vs 9·1 ± 0·4). The results supported the two hypotheses. In addition, cauterization of the dominant follicle of Wave 1 on Days 3 or 5 increased the incidence of 3-wave interovulatory intervals.

Keywords: ovary; follicles; follicular waves; cattle; cauterization

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K Herzog, L Debertolis, J P Kastelic, M Schmicke, S E Ulbrich and H Bollwein

The objective was to characterize effects of Escherichia coli LPS (given i.v.) on corpus luteum (CL) and embryonic viability in early pregnant cattle. Eight non-lactating German Holstein cows were given 0.5 µg/kg LPS on 35 ± 3 day (mean ± s.e.m.) of pregnancy, whereas seven heifers, 41 ± 6 day pregnant, were given 10 mL saline (control group). Transrectal B-mode examinations of the CL were done at −1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h relative to treatment. Blood samples were collected at −1, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h. At 12 and 48 h, the CL was biopsied. None of the cows still in the experiment 10 day after LPS (n = 7) had embryonic loss. In LPS-treated cows, luteal area decreased (from 4.1 to 3.1 cm2; P ≤ 0.05) within 6 h and until 48 h. Luteal blood flow decreased by 39% (P ≤ 0.05) within the first 6 h after LPS, but returned to pre-treatment values by 48 h. Plasma P4 decreased by 62% (P ≤ 0.05), reached a nadir (2.7 ± 0.6 ng/mL) at 12 h after LPS and was not restored to pre-treatment (P ≤ 0.05). In luteal tissue, mRNAs for STAR and for FGF1 were lower (P ≤ 0.05) in LPS than in saline-treated cattle at 12 h, with no difference between groups at 48 h. Levels of mRNAs for CASP3 and FGF2 were not different between groups (P > 0.05) at 12 or 48 h after treatment. In conclusion, LPS transiently suppressed CL function, but did not induce embryonic mortality.

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K Herzog, K Strüve, J P Kastelic, M Piechotta, S E Ulbrich, C Pfarrer, K Shirasuna, T Shimizu, A Miyamoto and H Bollwein

The objective was to characterize the effects of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxin (given i.v.) on luteal structure and function. Seven nonlactating German Holstein cows, 5.1±0.8 years old (mean±s.e.m.), were given 10 ml saline on day 10 (ovulation=day 1) of a control estrous cycle. On day 10 of a subsequent cycle, they were given 0.5 μg/kg LPS. Luteal size decreased (from 5.2 to 3.8 cm2, P≤0.05) within 24 h after LPS treatment and remained smaller throughout the remainder of the cycle. Luteal blood flow decreased by 34% (P≤0.05) within 3 h after LPS and remained lower for 72 h. Plasma progesterone (P4) concentrations increased (P≤0.05) within the first 3 h after LPS but subsequently declined. Following LPS treatment, plasma prostaglandin (PG) F metabolites concentrations were approximately tenfold higher in LPS-treated compared with control cows (9.2 vs 0.8 ng/ml, P≤0.05) within 30 min, whereas plasma PGE concentrations were nearly double (P≤0.05) at 1 h after LPS. At 12 h after treatment, levels of mRNA encoding Caspase-3 in biopsies of the corpus luteum (CL) were increased (P≤0.05), whereas those encoding StAR were decreased (P≤0.05) in cattle given LPS vs saline. The CASP3 protein was localized in the cytoplasm and/or nuclei of luteal cells, whereas StAR was detected in the cytosol of luteal cells. In the estrous cycle following treatment with either saline or LPS, there were no significant differences between groups on luteal size, plasma P4 concentrations, or gene expression. In conclusion, LPS treatment of diestrus cows transiently suppressed both the structure and function of the CL.

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L F C Brito, A D Barth, N C Rawlings, R E Wilde, D H Crews Jr, Y R Boisclair, R A Ehrhardt and J P Kastelic

The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects offeed restriction during calfhood on serum concentrations of metabolic hormones, gonadotropins, and testosterone, and on sexual development in bulls. Eight beef bull calves received a control diet from 10 to 70 weeks of age. An additional 16 calves had restricted feed (75% of control) from 10 to 26 weeks of age (calfhood), followed by either control or high nutrition (n=8/group) during the peripubertal period until 70 weeks of age. Restricted feed during calfhood inhibited the hypothalamic GnRH pulse generator, reduced the pituitary response to GnRH, impaired testicular steroidogenesis, delayed puberty, and reduced testicular weight at 70 weeks of age, regardless of the nutrition during the peripubertal period. Restricted feed reduced serum IGF-I concentrations, but concentrations of leptin, insulin, and GH were not affected. In conclusion, restricted feed during calfhood impaired sexual development in bulls due to adverse effects on every level of the hypothalamus–pituitary–gonad axis and these effects were not overcome by supplemental feeding during the peripubertal period. Furthermore, based on temporal associations, the effects of restricted feed on the hypothalamus–pituitary–gonad axis might be mediated by serum IGF-I concentrations. These results supported the hypotheses that the pattern of LH secretion during the early gonadotropin rise during calfhood is the main determinant of age of puberty in bulls and that gonadotropin-independent mechanisms involved in testicular growth during the peripubertal period are affected by previous LH exposure.