Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Veterinary Science

First Advisor

Dr. Barry A. Ball

Abstract

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a homodimeric glycoprotein that is best known for its role in regression of the Müllerian duct in the male fetus. Accumulating evidence indicates that AMH also has an important role during different physiological processes after birth. In contrast to other species, relatively little is known about AMH in the horse. In chapter one, developmental and seasonal changes in serum AMH concentrations in male horses were determined, and the use of AMH for determination of retained cryptorchid testes was established. In chapter two, the interrelationship between plasma AMH concentrations, antral follicle counts (AFC), and age in mares was evaluated. Molecular and hormonal changes in the equine follicle with regard to variations in antral follicle count and follicular development were examined in chapter three. In chapter four, the effect of AFC on age-related changes in follicular parameters in light-type horse mares was examined. Peripheral AMH concentrations were significantly higher in prepubertal colts than in postpubertal stallions and varied with season in mature stallions with higher concentrations during the physiological breeding season. Furthermore, serum AMH concentrations were significantly higher in cryptorchid stallions compared to intact stallions or geldings. Circulating AMH concentrations varied widely amongst mares of the same age while the repeatability of AMH was high within and between estrous cycles. More importantly, AMH concentrations were positively associated with AFC, and this relationship increased with mare age. In addition, variations in AMH concentrations or AFC were associated with molecular differences in granulosa cells of growing follicles, and the expression of AMH and genes co-expressed with AMH in the equine follicle as well as intrafollicular AMH concentrations decreased during follicular development. Finally, the inter-ovulatory interval and length of the follicular phase is increased in aged mares with low AFC. In conclusion, AMH is a useful biomarker for cryptorchidism in stallions and ovarian reserve in mares. Furthermore, follicular function was interrelated to AFC or AMH based upon molecular differences in growing follicles, while age-related changes in follicular parameters are linked to differences in AFC.

Share

COinS