Journal of reproduction and fertility vol:119 issue:2 pages:323-328
Circulating inhibin A, inhibin B, activin A, total immunoreactive inhibin a-subunit (ir-a inhibin), LH, FSH and progesterone concentrations were measured throughout the normal ovulatory cycle and after cessation of egg laying induced by feed restriction to investigate the potential involvement of inhibins and activins in the ovulatory cycle of the domestic hen. Plasma inhibin A varied significantly (P < 0.05) during the ovulatory cycle; the concentration was highest at the preovulatory LH surge and reached a nadir 10 h later, at about the time the F, follicle makes the transition to become the new F, follicle. Plasma FSH concentrations did not change significantly throughout the cycle and showed no correlation with inhibin A. Total ir-a inhibin concentrations were much higher than those of inhibin A at all stages of the ovulatory cycle and showed no correlation with inhibin A or FSH. Plasma concentrations of inhibin B and of activin A were below the detection Limit of the assays in all plasma samples analysed. in the feed restriction study, plasma inhibin A and total ir-alpha inhibin showed little change until the last day of oviposition (day 0) after which they fell significantly (P < 0.05) and remained low to the end of the experiment (approximately 70-78% decrease relative to day -4). Conversely, plasma FSH increased after cessation of laying and was significantly higher (P < 0.05) from day 3 to the end of the study (approximately 50% increase on day 6 relative to day -4). Plasma FSH values were negatively correlated with inhibin A (r = -0.39; P < 0.005) and total ir-a inhibin (r = -0.36; P < 0.005). Plasma LH and progesterone also decreased (P < 0.05) during feed restriction. The decrease in LH preceded the terminal oviposition and the associated fall in inhibin A by 2 days; there was a positive correlation between LH and inhibin A (r = 0.35; P < 0.005). Taken together these findings support (i) a role for LH in promoting inhibin A secretion by preovulatory follicles and (ii) an endocrine role for inhibin A secreted by preovulatory follicles in the maintenance of tonic FSH secretion in laying hens.