Summary. Experiments were conducted with ewes to investigate the effects of an enriched bovine follicular fluid inhibin preparation (INH) on gonadotrophin secretion after the onset of oestrus. Administration of INH (10 mg) 1 h after the onset of oestrus did not significantly alter the preovulatory FSH and LH surges or the second FSH peak. To determine the effects of INH on the second FSH surge, ewes were treated with saline (N = 7) or INH (N = 10) at 4 h (10 mg) and 24 h (5 mg) after the peak of the preovulatory LH surge. The second FSH surge was delayed about 24 h (P < 0·05) in ewes treated with INH; however, the delay did not alter the interval to the next oestrus.
In a third experiment, 16 ewes were assigned to 4 groups in a 2 × 2 factorial with the main effects being ovariectomy at 4 h and INH treatment (10 mg) at 4, 20 and 36 h after the peak of the LH surge. Controls received sham ovariectomy and saline injection as appropriate. Ovariectomy resulted in a rapid increase in serum FSH but not LH and this was delayed (P < 0·05) by INH treatment. These results indicate that inhibin has a selective inhibitory action on FSH secretion in ewes and suggests that the second FSH surge results from increased basal FSH secretion due to decreased endogenous inhibin levels.