Relatively little is known about the physiological roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) during follicular development. Previous evidence from in vitro studies suggests specific roles for a subset of miRNAs, including miR-21, miR-23a, miR-145, miR-503, miR-224, miR-383, miR-378, miR-132, and miR-212, in regulating ovarian follicle development. The objective of this study was to gain insight on the involvement of these miRNAs during follicle maturation. Follicular fluid was aspirated from dominant follicles (>32 mm) during the ovulatory season (July to October) and the anovulatory season (January to March) in each of 5 mares, and the levels of steroids, IGF1, and miRNAs were analyzed by immunoassays and quantitative PCR. Levels of progesterone, testosterone, and IGF1 were lower (P ≤ 0.05) in anovulatory than in ovulatory follicles. Relative to ovulatory follicles, anovulatory follicles had higher (P <0.05) mean levels of miR-21, miR-23b, miR-378, and miR-202 and tended to have higher (P = 0.06) levels of miR-145. Levels of miR-224 and miR-383 could not be detected in follicular fluid. These novel results indicate a physiological association between increases in follicular miRNA levels and seasonal anovulation in mares; further studies should elucidate the precise involvement of miR-21, miR-23b, miR-145, miR-378, and miR-202 in follicle maturation in the mare.
- miRNAs Follicles Anovulatory Follicular fluid Mares