The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of short-term feed restriction on characteristics of the preovulatory follicle and on concentrations of systemic hormones (leptin, follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH], luteinizing hormone [LH]) and follicular fluid hormones and growth factors (leptin, estradiol, inhibin-A, activin-A, free insulin-like growth factor-1 [IGF1], insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 [IGFBP2], vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]). Mares were submitted to a short-term (48 h) feed restriction when the expected ovulatory follicle was > or =27 mm (Hour 0) or served as controls (n=8/group). No effect of short-term feed restriction was detected for systemic concentrations of FSH and LH and for intrafollicular concentrations of estradiol, activin-A, free IGF1, and IGFBP2. Restricted mares had decreased systemic concentrations of leptin at Hour 24 (approached significance) and at Hours 36 and 48 (P<0.02). Our favored interpretation is that the preovulatory follicle seems to compensate for a nutritional deficiency by increasing the blood flow in the follicle wall.
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