Temporal concentrations of cortisol and LH in virgin ewes acutely exposed to rams during the transition into the breeding season
Berardinelli, James G.
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The objectives of this study were to determine if exposing seasonally anovular ewes to rams would alter patterns of cortisol concentrations, and if these changes are associated with changes in characteristics of LH concentrations. Seasonally anestrous ewes were assigned to be exposed to rams (RE; n = 11) or wethers (NE; n = 12). Blood samples were collected at 15-min intervals beginning 120 min before introduction of males (time = 0 min), and continued for 360 min after male exposure. Characteristics of cortisol and LH concentrations included: mean and baseline concentrations, pulse amplitude, duration, frequency, and time to first pulse. Mean and baseline cortisol concentrations, and cortisol pulse amplitude, frequency, and time to first pulse after male exposure did not differ between RE and NE ewes. Cortisol pulse duration was longer (P < 0.05) in RE ewes than in NE ewes. Mean LH and LH pulse amplitude, duration, and time to first pulse after male exposure did not differ between RE and NE ewes. Baseline LH concentrations and LH pulse frequency were greater (P < 0.05) in RE than in NE ewes. In RE ewes, but not NE ewes, LH pulse frequency tended to increase (P = 0.06) as pulse frequency of cortisol decreased. In conclusion, exposing ewes to mature rams during the transition into the breeding season increased LH pulse frequency which hastened ovulatory activity. However, the results do not support the hypothesis that changes in cortisol concentrations plays a significant role in the ‘ram effect’.
McCosh, R. B., E. M. Berry, M. E. Wehrman, R. R. Redden, D. M. Hallford, and J. G. Berardinelli. "Temporal concentrations of cortisol and LH in virgin ewes acutely exposed to rams during the transition into the breeding season." Animal Reproduction Science 154 (March 2015): 25-28. DOI:https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2015.01.008.