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The Estrous Cycle and Induction of Ovulation in Mares

  • Yoon, Min-Jung (Division of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University)
  • Received : 2012.06.07
  • Accepted : 2012.06.14
  • Published : 2012.06.30

Abstract

For horse breeders or managers, it is critical to understand the estrous cycle of mares. Breeding of mares cannot be successfully achieved throughout the whole year as mares breed seasonally. Mares are only able to breed when day length is more than 16 h, and this period is known as the breeding season. Their estrous cycle is approximately 21 days with 5-7 days of estrus and 14 to 15 days of a diestrus period. The estrous cycle of the mare is mainly controlled by gonadotropins, which control follicular development and ovulation. Mares exhibit unique ovulatory events which are not observed in other species. A LH surge occurs for several days, with levels of LH reaching their peak after ovulation. The LH level at the time of LH peak is lower than most other species. The unique anatomical structure of the ovaries of mares is known to limit the number of eggs ovulated. Several attempts have been made to develop chemical/hormonal agents which might be used to manipulate the timed ovulation of mares. Agents that have been tested include hCG, native GnRH, Deslorelin (Ovuplant, GnRH-agonist), Buserelin (GnRH analogue), equine pituitary extracts and equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG or PMSG). However, the function, purity or stability of these agents is not reliable. Recombinant equine LH, an alternative agent for the timed ovulation, has been developed and tested for its biological activities, through the use of both in vitro and in vivo experiments. The reLH was suggested to be a reliable agent in inducing ovulation within 48 h after being administered through injection, when the size of dominant follicle is 35 mm in diameter.

Keywords

Mares;Estrous cycle;Follicular development;Ovulation;Timed ovulation

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