Ovarian follicular growth suppression by long-term treatment with a GnRH agonist and impact on small follicle number, oocyte yield, and in vitro embryo production in Zebu beef cows

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to evaluate small follicle number, oocyte yield, and in vitro embryo production (IVEP) in Zebu beef cows treated long term with a GnRH agonist to suppress ovarian follicular growth. Nelore (Bos indicus) cows (n = 20) showing regular estrous cycles were randomly assigned to one of two groups: control (n = 10, placebo ear implant without a GnRH agonist); GnRH agonist (n = 10, GnRH agonist ear implant containing 9.4-mg deslorelin). All cows underwent an ovum pick-up (OPU) session 14 days (Day 14) before the start of treatments (Day 0) followed by seven OPU-IVEP procedures at 30-day intervals (Days 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180). Semen from a single batch of a previously tested bull was used for all the IVEP. Cows treated with agonist reported a decrease over time in the proportion of animals with a (CL; P ≤ 0.05) and large follicles (>10 mm, P ≤ 0.05). These cows had a lesser number of medium + large follicles (>5 mm; 1.74 ± 0.5 vs. 4.13 ± 0.5; P ≤ 0.05), greater number of small follicles (2-5 mm; 44.3 ± 2.8 vs. 30.8 ± 1.8; P ≤ 0.05), greater yield of cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs; 21.0 ± 2.3 vs. 15.6 ± 1.9; P ≤ 0.05), greater proportion of COCs cultured (79.2 vs. 73.9%; P ≤ 0.05), COCs cleaved (10.6 ± 1.5 vs. 6.8 ± 1.1, P ≤ 0.05), and cleaved rate (52.8 vs. 44.3%; P ≤ 0.05) compared with control cows. The number (3.4 ± 0.7 vs. 3.0 ± 0.6; P > 0.05) and proportion (16.5 vs. 19.1%; P > 0.05) of blastocysts produced were similar between agonist and control cows, respectively. The study has shown that Zebu beef cows treated long term with a GnRH agonist had follicular growth restricted to small follicles. This did not compromise the ability of oocytes to undergo IVF and embryonic development.

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Batista, E. O. S., Vieira, L. M., Sá Filho, M. F., Dias, E. A. R., Bayeux, B. M., Accorsi, M. F., … D’Occhio, M. J. (2016). Ovarian follicular growth suppression by long-term treatment with a GnRH agonist and impact on small follicle number, oocyte yield, and in vitro embryo production in Zebu beef cows. Theriogenology, 85(9), 1680–1687. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.01.023

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