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Follicular and oocyte development in gilts of different age

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The aim of the present study was to estimate follicular and oocyte development of the same gilts in three phases of their reproductive life – prepuberal gilt (6 months old), cycling gilt (9.5 months old) and primiparous sow. Follicular development was induced by injections of 1000 IU PMSG followed by 500 IU hCG 72 h later. Cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COCs) were recovered from preovulatory follicles of the left ovary, and follicular fluid (FF) from the right ovary always 34 h after hCG by endoscopy. Altogether, 19 gilts were used in the prepuberal (P) and cycling (C) trials and 12 of them in the primiparous trial (S). Altogether 168, 190 and 82 follicles were aspirated from the left ovary and 106, 125 and 42 COCs recovered (recovery rate 60.5 ± 26.9, 62.7 ± 20.9 and 52.9 ± 21.8%). The average number of follicles was higher in C compared to P (19.7 ± 6.8 vs. 15.7 ± 6.8, p = 0.06) and to S (14.2 ± 4.0, p < 0.05), respectively. More uniform expanded COCs were aspirated from prepuberal and cycling gilts as compared to sows (89.7 and 78.4% vs. 46.3%, p < 0.05). Furthermore, the meiotic configuration in oocytes differed (p < 0.05) between these groups (55.5 and 61.7% vs. 0% Telo1/Meta2). Concentrations of progesterone in FF decreased (p < 0.05) from 590.0 ± 333.6 (P) to 249.1 ± 72.6 (C) and 161.4 ± 75.2 ng/ml (S). FF concentrations of oestradiol-17β were different between gilts and sows (9.3 ± 2.9, 21.9 ± 10.6 and 94.0 ± 15.9 pg/ml, p < 0.05). The progesterone/oestradiol ratio was 72.1, 15.2 and 4.7. Results indicate a different follicular and oocyte development during the investigated lifetime periods. Cycling gilts should preferably be used in IVF and breeding programs. The lower reproductive potential of primiparous sows is taken into consideration at breeding. Prediction of lifetime performance based on individual ovarian reaction of prepuberal gilts is unsuitable.

Keywords: Follicle; follicular fluid; oocyte morphology; steroid hormones; swine

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-11-13

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