Control of follicular development and ovulation rate in pigs.

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40 Scopus citations


There is considerable evidence that nutritional and metabolic control of follicular growth is mediated by metabolic hormones and growth factors, particularly with processes mediated by insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and its binding proteins (IGFBPs). From knowledge that hormones and growth factors which can be affected by diet also positively affect ovarian function, the concept has emerged that metabolic modifiers of gonadotrophin action, rather than gonadotrophins themselves, could affect follicle development. While ovulation rate can be enhanced under certain conditions in cyclic gilts, assessing influences of metabolic modifiers on the post-lactational sow is confounded by variability in the return to oestrus after weaning. In a series of studies involving insulin administration between weaning and oestrus, successive experiments produced different results, but several measures of reproductive performance were enhanced. Administration of somatotrophin (ST) has also been shown to increase follicular development in both gilts and sows. Both insulin and ST increase IGF-I production by pig ovarian follicles, and insulin is more effective than IGF-I in reducing atresia and increasing progesterone in cultured pig follicles. Whether increases in litter size are achieved after an increase in ovulation rate involves many factors, including the quality of ova and whether the increase in ovulation rate exceeds the uterine capacity to maintain pregnancy. Given the variation in genetics and management practices, development of treatments to enhance follicle quality leading to maximal litter size is challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of reproduction and fertility. Supplement
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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