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Gonadotrophins and sex steroids during pregnancy and natural superfoetation in captive brown hares (Lepus europaeus).

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of reproduction and fertility
Publication Date
Volume
92
Issue
2
Pages
299–306
Identifiers
PMID: 1909363
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In brown hares, which are induced ovulators, sexual behaviour occurs episodically at the beginning of pregnancy. From Day 34 (length of pregnancy is 41 days), the frequency of sexual chases followed by mating, ovulation and fertilization increased and 59% of pregnant females presented a natural superfoetation. The pattern of circulating luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), oestradiol and progesterone was studied in 13 pregnant females left permanently with a male, and in 10 females isolated from males around Day 20 of pregnancy. In the 2 groups FSH concentrations were high at the beginning and end of pregnancy. All females presented a peak value of FSH in the last 4 days of pregnancy, regardless of mating stimuli. This peak value was higher for females left permanently with a male than for isolated ones. Oestradiol concentrations fluctuated between 20 and 100 pg/ml, without any clear correlation with sexual behaviour, stage of pregnancy or profiles of other hormones. Prepartum matings occurred when progesterone values were still greater than 50 ng/ml; they were followed by a transient rise in LH and by a periovulatory progesterone secretion, with values above 100 ng/ml in the morning after mating. Such modifications of LH and progesterone were not detected before Day 34, suggesting that mating stimuli are not able to induce an LH surge at the beginning of pregnancy. After Day 34, mating can induce an LH surge, ovulation and superfoetation.

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