The objective was to characterise the hormonal composition of follicular fluid from mares with distinct anovulatory-cystic follicles. Follicular fluid was aspirated from six mares that presented with cystic follicles and from pre-ovulatory follicles of five normal mares (controls). Differences in progesterone, oestradiol, testosterone, IGF-I and IGF binding were analysed using Fisher's exact test. There were greater (P < 0.03) follicular fluid oestradiol concentrations in normal follicles and the testosterone concentration of the cystic fluid was greater (P < 0.05) than that of the normal fluid. There also was a greater (P < 0.03) percentage of IGF-I binding and lower (P < 0.02) IGF-I concentrations in the fluid collected from the cystic structures compared with the fluid from normal follicles. Despite the limited number of animals, the fact that fluid aspirated from cystic follicles had higher testosterone and lower oestradiol concentrations could be of diagnostic value when a practitioner wants to distinguish between a cystic and non-cystic persistent follicle. The research reported here also indicates a likely role for the IGF system in the pathogenesis of the development and maintenance of anovulatory follicular structures in mare ovaries.
- Abnormal follicles