The aim of our study was to characterize follicular recruitment and growth in response to the repeated removal of follicles. All tertiary follicles (> 2 mm of diameter) in the ovaries of 10 non-lactating Holstein Friesian cows were punctured at midcycle (Day 0) by means of an ultrasound- guided needle. Puncture sessions were scheduled twice weekly at 3- or 4-d intervals over 3 mo. In the middle of the experiment, i.e., Week 7, the effects of 2- and 5-d intervals between follicular punctures were tested and compared with the previous 3- and 4-d intervals. After this period, 6 animals were slaughtered to study the effect of puncturing on gross ovarian morphology. The protocol of puncturing follicles with 3- to 4-d intervals was continued for an additional 3 mo in the remaining 4 animals. Twice-weekly puncturing of all tertiary follicles abolished estrous cycles and lead to an increase in follicular wave frequency without apparent negative effects on either the reproductive tract or ovaries. After puncture the new follicular wave attained full numerical development within 3 d. Two-day intervals resulted in a lower number of follicles than the 3-d interval (11.0 ± 3.8 vs 15.4 ± 6.1; P< 0.05). In contrast 4- and 5-d intervals between puncture resulted in an increase in follicle size when compared with that of the 3-d interval. The mean ± SD number of recruited follicles varied between animals ranging between 7.8 ± 9.5 to 19.2 ± 6.0. The mean number of follicles recruited increased from the first month (March) to the third month (May) of sampling (11.8 ± 4.7 vs 16.4 ± 6.5; P< 0.01), and then decreased between the third (May) and the sixth (August) month of sampling (21.5 ± 4.7 vs 16.8 ± 5.0; P< 0.01). During the experiment, the number of recruited follicles varied cyclically, with waves having a length of 6 puncture session (PS) or 3 wk (i.e., the mean length the bovine estrous cycle). Follicular recruitment after repeated ovum pick-up showed a high repeatability (r=0.576). A model was also developed showing good predictability of the potential of animals to recruit follicles on the basis of the first 4 to 6 PS. Our results showed that despite large variation in follicular recruitment between animals, the high repeatability and good predictability of follicle recruitment demonstrates the possibility of characterizing animals on their potential for follicle growth.
Boni, R., Roelofsen, M. W. M., Pieterse, M. C., Kogut, J., & Kruip, T. A. M. (1997). Follicular dynamics, repeatability and predictability of follicular recruitment in cows undergoing repeated follicular puncture. Theriogenology, 48(2), 277-289. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0093-691X(97)84075-7