Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 44, Number 1, January-February 2004
Page(s) 89 - 98
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 44 (2004) 89-98
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2004010

Response of anestrous ewes to the ram effect after follicular wave synchronization with a single dose of estradiol-17 $\beta$

Rodolfo Ungerfelda, b, Ana L. Dagoa, Edgardo Rubianesc and Mats Forsbergb

a  Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Lasplaces 1550, Montevideo 11600, Uruguay
b  Centre for Reproductive Biology, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
c  Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Agronomía, Montevideo, Uruguay

(Received 22 July 2003; accepted 9 December 2003)

Abstract - Anestrous ewes respond to the introduction of rams with either an ovulation within 2-3 days that may be followed by luteal phases of normal or short length, with delayed ovulations (5-6 days later), or with the luteinization of follicles. The aim of this work was to study the relationship between the growth status of the largest follicle present when rams are introduced and the type of ovarian response in non-treated ewes and in ewes treated with estradiol-17 $\beta$ before ram introduction. Thirteen anestrous Corriedale ewes were divided into 2 groups: E2 (n = 7) and C (n = 6). The E2 ewes received a single dose of 50 $\mu$g estradiol-17 $\beta$ 5 days before the introduction of the rams to synchronize the onset of their follicle waves, while C ewes remained untreated. When the rams were introduced, all E2 ewes had the largest follicle in a growing stage in contrast with the C ewes (3 out of 6; P < 0.05). Five C and 4 E2 ewes ovulated after the introduction of the rams (Day 3.4 ± 0.4 for C vs. 4.8 ± 0.3 for E2 ewes, respectively, P < 0.05). Only one ewe from each group developed a normal luteal phase; 4 C and 3 E2 ewes had short luteal phases. One C ewe and 2 E2 ewes had short luteal phases originating from follicles that did not ovulate. After the first luteal phase, all ewes returned to anestrus without a second ovulation or luteal phase. The remaining E2 ewe did not ovulate or show any changes in progesterone serum concentrations. We conclude that the growth status of the largest follicle alone does not determine the ovarian responding pattern of anestrous ewes to the ram effect.

Key words: follicular dynamics / ultrasound / ram stimulus / ovulation / non-breeding season

Corresponding author: Rodolfo Ungerfeld

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004