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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2019) 2 RDRRDR10 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.2.010

REDR1990 Reproduction in Domestic Ruminants II Inhibin (5 abstracts)

Inhibin and oestradiol in the control of FSH secretion in the sheep

DT Baird , BK Campbell , GE Mann & AS McNeilly *

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and *MRC Unit of Reproductive Biology, Centre for Reproductive Biology, University of Edinburgh, 37 Chalmers Street, Edinburgh EH3 9EW, UK

Summary. In the sheep both FSH and LH are necessary for development of large antral follicles. The secretion of FSH is controlled by the negative feedback effect of two ovarian hormones, oestradiol and inhibin, acting at the level of the anterior pituitary. Both are derived from the granulosa cells of large antral follicles which are present in sheep ovaries throughout the oestrous cycle. FSH stimulates growth and mitosis and so the fully differentiated granulosa cells of the large preovulatory follicles acquire receptors for LH, have maximal aromatase activity and produce large amounts of inhibin. The number of these large antral follicles (oestrogenic) which have the potential for ovulation corresponds to the ovulation rate specific for each particular breed of sheep. Over 90% of the oestradiol secreted by the ovaries is derived from these chosen follicles. In contrast, inhibin (and androstenedione) is also secreted by large antral follicles which have lost or not yet acquired maximal aromatase activity.

The secretion of oestradiol by the preovulatory follicle(s) is dependent on the supply of androgen precursors produced by the theca which is stimulated by LH. When the concentration of progesterone falls at the end of the luteal phase the increased secretion of LH stimulates the progressive increase in secretion of oestradiol which occurs during the follicular phase. At this stage of the cycle there is a modest inconsistent rise in inhibin, the secretion of which is not stimulated by LH but is related to the increase in the number of large antral follicles. It is suggested that inhibin with its long half-life sets the overall level of negative feedback while oestradiol is responsible for the day-to-day fluctuations in the concentration of FSH which determines the number of ovulatory follicles. This dual control of FSH is adapted to monitor both the total number of large antral follicles in the ovaries (inhibin) and the number which are selected for ovulation (oestradiol).

Keywords: inhibin; oestradiol; FSH; sheep

© 1991 Journals of Reproduction & Fertility Ltd

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