Peri-oestrus Hormone Profiles and Follicle Growth in Lactating Sows with Oestrus Induced by Intermittent Suckling

R. Gerritsen, N.M. Soede, P. Langendijk, S.J. Dieleman, W. Hazeleger, B. Kemp

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22 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes follicle dynamics, endocrine profiles in multiparous sows with lactational oestrus compared with conventionally weaned sows (C). Lactational oestrus was induced by Intermittent Suckling (IS) with separation of sows and piglets for either 12 consecutive hours per day (IS12, n = 14) or twice per day for 6 h per occasion (IS6, n = 13) from day 14 of lactation onwards. Control sows (n = 23) were weaned at day 21 of lactation. Pre-ovulatory follicles (¿6 mm) were observed in 100% of IS12, 92% of IS6 and 26% of C sows before day 21 of lactation and in the remaining 74% C sows within 7 days after weaning. All sows with pre-ovulatory follicles showed oestrus, but not all sows showed ovulation. Four IS6 sows and one IS12 sow developed cystic follicles of which two IS6 sows partially ovulated. Follicle growth, ovulation rate and time of ovulation were similar. E2 levels tended to be higher in IS sows (p = 0.06), the pre-ovulatory LH surge tended to be lower in IS12 (5.1 ± 1.7 ng/ml) than in C sows (8.4 ± 5.0 ng/ml; p = 0.08) and P4 levels were lower in IS12 and IS6 than in C sows (at 75 h after ovulation: 8.8 ± 2.4 ng/ml vs 7.0 ± 1.4 ng/ml vs 17.1 ± 4.4 ng/ml; p <0.01). In conclusion, sows with lactational oestrus induced by IS are similar to weaned sows in the timing of oestrus, early follicle development and ovulation rates, but the pre-ovulatory LH surge and post-ovulatory P4 increase are lower.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalReproduction in Domestic Animals
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • preovulatory lh surge
  • luteinizing-hormone
  • stimulating-hormone
  • prolactin secretion
  • progesterone concentration
  • litter separation
  • endocrine changes
  • primiparous sows
  • boar exposure
  • ovulation


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