Endogenous and exogenous control of ovarian dynamics in wapiti
A series of studies were guided by the principal hypothesis that it was necessary to characterize ovarian function during the seasons of the annual reproductive cycle in wapiti and that from this knowledge novel methods of exogenous control of ovarian function would be possible. To augment existing knowledge about endogenous control of ovarian function in wapiti studies were conducted to characterize ovarian follicle dynamics during the estrous season and to characterize ovarian follicular dynamics during the periods of transition into and out of the breeding season. The third study was designed to characterize ovarian follicle development and ovulation synchrony subsequent to an estrous synchronization protocol used commercially. To evaluate novel methods of exogenous control of ovarian function studies were conducted to determine if follicular wave emergence could be electively induced using hormonal or surgical treatments to evaluate novel ovarian superstimulatory treatment protocols. It was concluded from the studies of ovarian function that follicle development during the breeding season was characterized by the regular and synchronous development of follicular waves and that 2, 3, or 4 waves occurred during each interovulatory interval. Transition into the breeding season was preceded by one short interovulatory interval (9 days) characterized by one wave of follicle development and a small, short-lived and hypo-functional corpus luteum. The last estrous cycle of the breeding season was similar to estrous cycles during the rut (21 days), but and transition to anestrus was marked by a failure of the dominant follicle to ovulate after luteal regression. The treatment protocol used commercially for estrous synchronization was effective, but unnecessarily long. It was concluded from the studies on exogenous control of ovarian function that follicular wave emergence could be electively induced using steroid hormones or follicle ablation and may be useful for estrus synchronization and superstimulatory protocols. The tested superstimulatory treatments were effective and had the advantage of reducing the treatment period by 6 days and the number of times the animals are handled by one third over a more conventional method. However, oocyte and embryo quality were not evaluated. As a result of the studies conducted and one previous study during the anouvlatory season follicle and luteal dynamics are now known in wapiti for all seasons of the year and this knowledge will provide a template upon which other species of deer can be compared. The final two studies support the principal hypothesis. The novel methods of exogenous ovarian control tested increase the potential for success when applying reproductive technologies and the successful application of these methods in wapiti should lead to their successful use in other species of deer.
ovary, follicle, cervid, follicle wave, estrous synchronization
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Veterinary Biomedical Sciences
Veterinary Biomedical Sciences