Fertility in rats immunized with steroid-free bovine follicular fluid

27 Sep 2012

Inhibin is a gonadal hormone that inhibits the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary gland. The objective of this study was to determine whether active immunization of male and female rats against inhibin rich, steroid-free bovine follicular fluid would increase inhibin antibody titre, onset of female puberty, pregnancy rate, litter size, testis weights, testosterone concentration and serum FSH. Immunization of rats with steroid free bovine follicular fluid stimulated production of anti-inhibin antibodies that immunoneutralized endogenous inhibins and increased levels of circulating FSH in immunized males. Inhibin immunoneutralization resulted in early vaginal opening in immunized females compared with controls and pregnancy rates were increased when immunized female rats were mated with immunized males. However, serum testosterone, testis weights and potential litter size remained unchanged. We conclude that methods to immunoneutralize inhibin may have merit as therapeutic procedures to enhance reproductive performance in domestic animals.