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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A GnRH/LH surge without subsequent progesterone exposure can induce development of follicular cysts.

Our hypothesis was that follicular cysts would develop if cows experienced an estradiol-induced GnRH LH surge in the absence of an ovulatory follicle. Further, we hypothesized that estradiol would fail to induce a subsequent GnRH/LH surge in these cows until they were treated with progesterone. In experiment 1, seven cows were synchronized with a controlled internal drug releasing device (CIDR) for 9 d and each received 500 microg of cloprostenol on d 7. All follicles (> or = 5 mm in diameter) were aspirated at the time of CIDR removal using transvaginal follicular aspiration. Two days after aspiration, cows were treated with 5 mg of estradiol benzoate (EB) to induce a GnRH/LH surge in the absence of an ovulatory-sized follicle. All cows had an LH surge following the estradiol treatment and three of seven developed an anovulatory condition that resembled follicular cysts. The four cows that did not develop follicular cysts luteinized remaining cells from one aspirated follicle each. Thus, all cows with a progesterone elevation after the estradiol/GnRH/LH surge had subsequent ovulatory cycles, whereas the absence of progesterone was followed by follicular cysts. After 49 d, the anovulatory cows were induced back to normal cyclicity by insertion of a CIDR for 7 d. In two subsequent experiments, nine of 26 cows were induced to have follicular cysts by follicular aspiration followed by 5 mg of EB. After 26 d of observation, all cystic cows received a second treatment with 5 mg of EB and none of the cows showed an LH surge or ovulation. Cystic cows were untreated (n = 4 controls) or treated for 7 d with a CIDR (n = 5). All cystic cows were subsequently treated for a third time with 5 mg of EB. All CIDR-treated cows had an LH surge and ovulated, whereas none of the control cows had an LH surge or ovulation after the estradiol treatment. Thus, a large follicle anovulatory condition, similar to follicular cysts, can be induced by estradiol induction of a GnRH/LH surge in the absence of subsequent luteinization, and this condition prevents a GnRH/LH surge in response to high doses of estradiol. Progesterone eliminates this condition by reinitiation of GnRH/LH surges in response to estradiol.[1]


  1. A GnRH/LH surge without subsequent progesterone exposure can induce development of follicular cysts. Gümen, A., Sartori, R., Costa, F.M., Wiltbank, M.C. J. Dairy Sci. (2002) [Pubmed]
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