Acta Vet. Brno 2008, 77: 65-72   doi:10.2754/avb200877010065

Histological and Ultrasonographic Monitoring of Folliculogenesis in Puerperal Ewes after Spring Lambing

R. Vlčková1, I. Valocký2, G. Lazar2, D. Sopková1, I. Maraček1

1Department of Normal Anatomy, Histology and Physiology, Institute of Physiology
2Clinic of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University of Veterinary Medicine, Košice, Slovak Republic

Received July 6, 2007
Accepted November 15, 2007

Abstract

The time of the first ovulation depends on the sheep breed, feeding conditions, year season, length of lamb nursing and following galactopoiesis. The objective of the present study was to analyse the follicle status after parturition in non-lactating Improved Valachian ewes. Laparotomy with following ovariectomy was performed after lamb weaning (spring) on days 17, 24 and 32 after parturition. The ovaries were USG analysed with 5.0 MHz linear and 7.5 MHz convex transducer. Follicular data were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. The ovaries were collected at the end of laparotomy and fixed in 10% formalin. The sections of the ovarian tissue were stained with haematoxylin and eosin and Azan staining. Ovarian slides were microscopically studied and analysed by LUCIA-G ver. 4.71. The differences in the ovary size were not significant. The number of follicles < 3 mm monitored by USG on day 32 was higher than that on day 17 after parturition. The image analysis of the ovary sections showed significantly higher numbers in the total follicles (P < 0.05) and the follicles > 3 mm (P < 0.001). The rate of atresia was 82% and 89% on day 17 and on day 32 post partum, respectively. We observed single ovulation on day 17 and double ovulations on days 24 and 32 post partum. More than half of the total number of antral follicles visible on the ovary surface was prepared for recruitment and this number was higher on day 32 post partum. Follicle selection connected with a relatively low rate of atresia and responsible preovulatory follicle sizes opened the way for selecting more follicles for the dominance process and thus also for the occurrence of double ovulations.

Keywords: Postpartum period, Improved Valachian sheep, follicle, atresia, ultrasonography, histology.