Home About Browse Search

Oestrus in the mare

with emphasis on deviant behaviour and adrenal gland function

Hedberg Alm, Ylva (2006). Oestrus in the mare. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2006:101
ISBN 91-576-7250-4
[Doctoral thesis]

[img] PDF


Some owners appear to experience problems with their mares due to excessive oestrous signs and/or changes in their mare’s behavioural characteristics across the oestrous cycle. Few such mares are examined at equine clinics and, thus, the cause of such behaviour is often unknown. Adrenal sex steroids have been suggested to cause oestrous behaviour in ovariectomised (OVX) mares and, if secreted in an aberrant manner, aggressive behaviour in intact mares. The aims of this study were to gain further knowledge regarding oestrus in the mare by (1) studying intact mares with a history of deviant behaviour (‘problem’ mares), intact control mares and OVX mares using objective methods and (2) by investigating mare adrenal gland function, specifically sex steroid hormone production after synthetic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) treatment (tetracosactide) in intact mares (‘problem’ mares and controls) and OVX mares, and adrenal steroid hormone receptors using immunohistochemistry in intact mares, OVX mares and oestradiol-treated OVX mares. In addition, since treatment with progestins to suppress oestrous cyclicity in competition mares is not endorsed by most European Community countries, a preliminary study was performed to determine if dioestrous ovulations and a subsequent prolonged luteal phase can be induced using human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Neither oestrous-cycle stage nor whether a mare was a ‘problem’ or control mare affected the mare’s response to a novel object test or isolation test. In the novel object test, mares (both control and ‘problem’) tended to touch the novel object earlier when tested in dioestrus first, indicating mares in the luteal phase may be more responsive to a novel environment. An effect of learning or habituation to the novel object test was found. OVX mares showed oestrous behaviour during both conventional teasing and during a ‘paddock teasing’ method, but without a normal cyclic pattern. Adrenal production of progesterone, androstenedione and testosterone was demonstrated and the hormones were shown to be of both ovarian and adrenal origin in intact mares at oestrus. Ovariectomy affected the diurnal cortisol rhythm, with a more pronounced rhythm after ovariectomy. ‘Problem’ mares showed a lower cortisol response to ACTH treatment compared with controls. Staining for oestrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and progesterone receptor (PR) (weak) was found in cell nuclei of the adrenal cortex (all mares) and in the cytoplasm of medullary cells (for ERα, in OVX mares and one intact mare only). Ovulation was induced in three of four hCG-treated mares that also developed prolonged luteal phases, as assessed by progesterone analysis. However, although no control mare ovulated after saline treatment, two control mares showed prolonged luteal activity during the study period. Further studies are needed to determine the method’s efficacy and applicability in practice. The present study confirms that mares after ovariectomy show oestrous signs, but without normal cyclicity. The adrenal gland produces a significant amount of androgens, which may be involved in such paradoxical sexual behaviour. The presence of ERα and PR in the adrenal cortex indicates a direct effect of ovarian steroids on adrenal gland function. ‘Problem’ mares showed few deviations from control mares, but the low number of animals and their heterogenicity may have confounded the results.

Authors/Creators:Hedberg Alm, Ylva
Title:Oestrus in the mare
Subtitle:with emphasis on deviant behaviour and adrenal gland function
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :November 2006
Number of Pages:62
ALLI. Hedberg, Y., Dalin, A.-M., Öhagen, P., Holm, K.R. & Kindahl, H. 2005. Effect of oestrous-cycle stage on the response of mares in a novel object test and isolation test. Reproduction in domestic animals 40, 480-488. II. Hedberg, Y., Dalin, A.-M., Forsberg, M., Lundeheim, N., Hoffmann, B., Ludwig, C. & Kindahl, H. 2006. Effect of ACTH (tetracosactide) on steroid hormone levels in the mare. Part A: Effect in intact normal mares and mares with possible estrous related behavioral abnormalities. Animal reproduction science, in press (e-published ahead of print 2006). III. Hedberg, Y., Dalin, A.-M., Forsberg, M., Lundeheim, N., Sandh, G., Hoffmann, B., Ludwig, C. & Kindahl, H. 2006. Effect of ACTH (tetracosactide) on steroid hormone levels in the mare. Part B: Effect in ovariectomized mares (including estrous behavior). Animal reproduction science, in press (e-published ahead of print 2006). IV. Hedberg, Y., Sukjumlong, S., Kindahl, H. & Dalin, A.-M. Steroid hormone receptors ERα and PR characterised by immunohistochemistry in the mare adrenal gland. Submitted for publication. V. Hedberg, Y., Dalin, A.-M., Santesson, M. & Kindahl, H. 2006. A preliminary study on the induction of dioestrous ovulation in the mare – a possible method for inducing prolonged luteal phase. Acta veterinaria scandinavica 48: 12. (Published online July 26, 2006).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:91-576-7250-4
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:mares, oestrous cycle, ovariectomy, adrenal glands, steroid hormones, hormone receptors, gonadotropins, sexual behaviour
Keywords:mare, oestrus, behavioural tests, ovariectomy, adrenal gland, steroid hormones, steroid hormone receptors, human chorionic gonadotropin, prolonged luteal phase
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1275
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Deposited By: Ylva Hedberg Alm
Deposited On:28 Nov 2006 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:11

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics