SDSU Beef Day 2020 Summary Publication

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Increased estradiol is the primary signal to initiate standing estrus, and cows that exhibit estrus prior to fixed-time artificial insemination have greater pregnancy rates than cows that do not. Therefore, understanding what factors may be present at the ovary that may regulate estradiol production is critical. A previous study reported that bovine follicles with greater follicular fluid concentrations of estradiol had decreased expression of GnRH-I and GnRH-II in granulosa cells (GC). The objective of this study was to characterize relative abundance of GnRH-I and -II mRNA within GC of follicles at specific stages of development. Beef cows were synchronized, and ovaries were collected at specific stages of follicular development [pre-selection (PRE), post-selection (POST), and post-selection 24 h after luteal regression (POST-PG)]. All surface follicles were classified as small (< 5mm), medium (5 - 8mm), or large (> 8mm) and aspirated to collect GC. Large follicles from each animal were kept separate and all other follicles were pooled by size within animal (n = 27, 27, and 18 for small, medium, and large). Total cellular RNA was extracted, and RT-PCR was performed for GnRH-I, GnRH-II, and GAPDH. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS. Across all follicles, GnRH-I and GnRH-II expression were not influenced by stage (P = 0.27) but were influenced by size (P < 0.01). Smalls (4.55 ± 0.39 and 3.91 ± 0.44, respectively) had greater expression (P ≤ 0.01) of GnRH compared to mediums (0.83 ± 0.39 and 1.41 ± 0.44, respectively) and larges (0.52 ± 0.47 and 2.12 ± 0.54, respectively). There was also a stage by size interaction (P < 0.01). POST (P < 0.01) and POST-PG (P ≤ 0.08) smalls had or tended to have increased expression compared to PRE smalls, but PRE mediums had increased expression (P < 0.03) compared to POST-PG mediums. When only the largest follicle for each animal was evaluated, stage of development influenced expression of GnRH-I (P = 0.03) but not GnRH-II (P = 0.91). For GnRH-I, PRE tended (P = 0.09; 2.29 ± 0.55) to have increased expression compared to POST (0.92 ± 0.55) and did have greater expression compared to POST-PG (P = 0.01; 0.11 ± 0.55). Thus, GnRH within antral follicles may be a key regulator of the follicle’s ability to produce estradiol.


South Dakota State University


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