Seasonal reproduction in the mare: possible role of plasma leptin, body weight and immune status

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The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the possible role of leptin, body weight and immune status on reproductive activity throughout the transition period from cyclicity to seasonal anestrus, during anestrus and resumption of ovarian activity in Lusitano mares. Mares in good body condition were monthly monitored throughout 2 years (10 mares in each year) for evaluation of their reproductive status by sequential ultrasonography and plasma progesterone determinations. On the second year, all mares were weighed. Progesterone and leptin were assayed by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Parameters of the immune status (phagocytosis and oxidative burst of neutrophils, characterisation of circulating lymphocyte subsets) were also evaluated. Phagocytosis and oxidative burst in blood neutrophils were measured by flow cytometry using commercially available kits. Lymphocyte subsets were assessed by indirect immunolluorescence staining after incubation with monoclonal antibodies specific for CD2, CD19, CD4, CD8 cells markers by flow cytometry. Natural killer cells and B cells were estimated mathematically. No significant difference was found in phagocytosis, oxidative burst and circulating lympocyte subsets at anestrus and at either phase of the estrous cycle (p > 0.05), suggesting that the immune status of the mare was not influenced by the seasonal changes in ovarian activity. This study also suggests that body weight has a direct relationship with plasma leptin levels. Increased concentrations of this hormone in circulation might be associated with the restart or maintenance of ovarian cyclicity in Lusitano mares.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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