The aim of the present study was to assess follicular and oocyte development in the same gilts during three phases of their reproductive life [prepuberal gilts (PP; 6.0 months of age), puberal gilts (P; 9.5 months of age) and primiparous sows (S)]. Follicular development was stimulated by the injection of 1,000 IU of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) followed by 500 IU of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) 72 h later. Cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COCs) were recovered by endoscopic ovum pick up/aspiration from preovulatory follicles of the left ovary, and the follicular fluid (FF) from the right ovary was collected 34 h after the hCG treatment by endoscopy. Altogether, 19 pigs were used in the PP and P trials and 12 in the S trial. From the left ovaries, 168, 190 and 82 follicles were aspirated and 106, 125 and 42 COCs, respectively, were recovered (recovery rate 61 ± 27, 63 ± 21 and 53 ± 22%, respectively). The mean number of follicles was greater in the P phase than in the PP phase (19.7 ± 6.8 vs. 15.7 ± 6.8; p=0.06) and S phases (14.2 ± 4.0; p<0.05). More uniform oocytes with an expanded cumulus were aspirated in the P and PP phases than in the S phase (90 and 78 vs. 46%; p<0.05). Furthermore, the meiotic configuration in oocytes (T I/M II stage) differed between the three phases (56 and 62 vs. 0%; p<0.05). Progesterone (P4) levels in FF decreased from 590.0 ± 333.6 (PP) to 249.1 ± 72.6 (P) and 161.4 ± 75.2 ng/ml (S) (p<0.05). Estradiol-17β (E2) levels differed between PP and P gilts and S sows (9.3 ± 2.9, 21.9 ± 10.6 and 94.0 ± 15.9 pg/ml, respectively; p< 0.05), and the P4/E2 ratio was 72, 15 and 5, respectively. These results indicate differences in follicular and oocyte development between the reproductive phases investigated. Puberal gilts should preferably be used in IVF and breeding programs. The lower reproductive potential of primiparous sows must be taken into consideration in breeding. Any prediction of lifetime performance based on individual ovarian reactions of prepuberal gilts is unreliable.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology