Inhibin-A and inhibin-B in cyclic and pregnant mares, and mares with granulosa-theca cell tumors: Physiological and diagnostic implications

A. J. Conley, E. L. Scholtz, G. Dujovne, R. F. Cotterman, E. L. Legacki, R. C. Uliani, M. A. Alvarenga, B. A. Ball, B. Kalra, G. V. Savjani, A. Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Studies in mares have examined serum inhibin concentrations using immuno-assays unable to distinguish dimeric inhibin-A from inhibin-B isoforms. Inhibin-A and inhibin-B immuno-assays were used to investigate concentrations in cyclic mares, young and old (6 vs 19 years old, respectively) mares following hemi-ovariectomy, mares during pregnancy and in mares with confirmed granulosa cell tumors (GCTs). Mares with inter-ovulatory intervals of 26 days had ovulatory peaks of inhibin-A averaging 80 pg/mL with a mid-cycle nadir of 5 pg/mL. Inhibin-A and inhibin-B concentrations were highly correlated (r = + 0.79, P < 0.01) though peak and nadir concentrations of inhibin-B were not significantly different. However, the ratio of inhibin-A to inhibin-B (A/B) changed significantly through the cycle, highest at ovulation and <1 (more inhibin-B than –A) at mid-cycle. Two mares with grossly extended inter-ovulatory intervals demonstrated mid-cycle inhibin-A (and inhibin-B) excursions suggestive of follicular waves. Follicle-stimulating hormone was negatively correlated with inhibin-A and –B concentrations in all 6 mares. Hemi-ovariectomy in young mares resulted in a significant decrease in inhibin-A and inhibin-B concentrations one day later (P < 0.05) but older mares did not, suggesting a possible extra-ovarian source(s) of these hormones. Both inhibin isoforms dropped to very low levels during pregnancy (P < 0.0001), inhibin-A (P < 0.0001) more rapidly than –B (P < 0.05), so that inhibin-B became the predominant measured form throughout most of gestation (P < 0.05). Mares with confirmed GCTs had elevated inhibin-B concentrations more reliably than inhibin-A but neither inhibin-A or -B was correlated with anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations. Collectively, concentrations of inhibin-A and –B were aligned with physiological events in healthy mares, though more pronounced cyclic changes were seen with inhibin-A. Inhibin-B concentrations were significantly associated with GCTs (P < 0.01), inhibin-A concentrations were not. While both inhibin-A and –B concentrations track physiological events such as cyclic follicular activity, only inhibin-B concentrations effectively signal ovarian neoplasia in mares.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cyclic
  • Equine
  • Inhibin-A
  • Inhibin-B
  • Ovarian tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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