Lactating primiparous sows were used to examine relationships among hypothalamic gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), serum, and anterior pituitary gonadotropins and follicular development after weaning or after administering GnRH pulses (1.5 ug) once hourly for 72 h before weaning. Control sows were either slaughtered at 0 or 72 h after weaning or were cannulated for collection of blood samples until 24 h after estrus. Sows pulsed with GnRH were either slaughtered 72 h after beginning of GnRH treatment or were cannulated for collection of blood samples until 24 h after estrus. Exogenous GnRH pulsed hourly during 72 h prior to weaning stimulated follicular growth as demonstrated by an increase in number of surface follicles >5 mm in diameter and a decrease in number of follicles(h) from weaning to an increase in estradiol (>16 pg/ml) was less in GnRH-pulsed than in control sows (P < 0.05), but hours from weaning to estrus were similar between groups. Amounts of GnRH in the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH), stalk median eminence (SME), and hypophyseal portal area (HPA) were similar among control sows killed at 0 or 72 h and sows pulsed with GnRH. Serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and frequency of release of LH were similar between GnRH-pulsed and control sows, but concentrations of LH and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in anterior pituitary were lower in GnRH-pulsed sows than control sows. Administration of GnRH for 72 h prior to weaning in primiparous sows stimulated follicular growth as manifested by increased secretion of estrogen; however, the amount of follicular growth was apparently inadequate to hasten the onset of estrus after weaning.



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