Mechanism of follicle deviation in monovular farm species

O J Ginther, M A Beg, F X Donadeu, D R Bergfelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diameter deviation is a distinctive change in growth rates among the follicles of a wave, heralding the formation of a dominant follicle and subordinate follicles. When the follicles are about 5mm in cattle and 13 mm in horses, the wave-stimulating FSH surge reaches peak concentrations. Follicle and FSH manipulation studies in both species have shown that the declining portion of the surge before the beginning of deviation is a function of multiple growing follicles that require the decreasing FSH. During this time, all follicles of the wave have the potential for future dominance. Deviation begins when the two largest follicles on average are 8.5 and 7.7 mm in cattle and 22.5 and 19.0 mm in horses or about 3 days after the FSH peak in both species. The FSH/follicle relationship is close so that a change in one event soon causes a detectable change in the other. Thus, the difference in diameter between the two largest follicles at the beginning of deviation is compatible with rapid establishment of the destiny of the two follicles before the second-largest follicle can also show dominance. The deviation mechanism is initiated when FSH concentrations are low and the most advanced follicle reaches a specific developmental stage. In cattle, the future dominant follicle develops greater LH-receptor expression than the other follicles about 8 h before the beginning of diameter deviation. Estradiol and free IGF-1 begin to establish higher concentrations in the future dominant follicle than in other follicles and activin-A is transiently elevated in both follicles a few hours before the beginning of diameter deviation. In horses, estradiol, free IGF-1, activin-A, and inhibin-A begin to increase differentially in the future dominant follicle about 1 day before deviation. These changes underlie a greater responsiveness to LH and FSH by the developing dominant follicle than for other follicles, thereby accounting for deviation. Results of in vitro studies, although frequently done in other species, support this conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-57
Number of pages19
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2003


  • Activins
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Estradiol
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Horses
  • Inhibins
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Ovarian Follicle
  • Somatomedins


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