The aim of this study was to determine whether immunoneutralization of inhibin altered compensatory ovarian hypertrophy. Crossbred postpubertal gilts actively immunized with a synthetic bovine inhibin peptide fragment (bINH) conjugated to human alpha globulins (HAG, n = 4 gilts) or HAG alone (control; n = 5) were unilaterally ovariectomized at mid-cycle. After unilateral ovariectomy, the remaining ovary was removed between day 8 and day 12 of the subsequent oestrous cycle. The number of corpora lutea per ovary was determined at each ovariectomy. Blood samples were collected at frequent intervals beginning 1 h before and continuing until the first oestrus after unilateral ovariectomy, and serum concentrations of FSH, LH, progesterone and oestradiol were determined. Inhibin antibody titres were estimated from the percentage of125I-labelled bINH bound to serum diluted 1:4000. At unilateral ovariectomy, the number of corpora lutea per ovary was similar for bINH:HAG-immunized and control gilts (8.6 ±0.7 versus 7.6 ± 0.6). During the next oestrous cycle after unilateral ovariectomy, the number of corpora lutea on each remaining ovary had doubled (P < 0.05) in controls compared with the number of corpora lutea per ovary in the previous cycle. In contrast, the number of corpora lutea remained unchanged in bINH:HAG-immunized gilts. Titre of anti-inhibin antibodies in bINH:HAG-immunized gilts was 9 ± 1% at unilateral ovariectomy compared with 0% for controls. Alterations in serum concentrations of hormones after unilateral ovariectomy did not differ between treatment groups. Compensatory ovarian hypertrophy was blocked after unilateral ovariectomy in immunized gilts independent of alterations in serum hormones, duration of oestrous cycle, or normal ovulation rate per ovary. Thus, it is concluded that inhibin or inhibin α subunits are positive local stimulators of compensatory ovarian hypertrophy in postpubertal gilts.
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