Record Details

Brown, Janine L.
Comparative ovarian function and reproductive monitoring of endangered mammals
Journal Article
1879-3231 (Electronic) 0093-691X (Linking)
Corpus luteum;Estrogen;Fecal steroids;Follicle;Progestagen;Ultrasonography
The ability to track gonadal function is facilitated by the use of endocrine and ultrasound techniques, both of which are important tools for optimizing reproduction and ensuring sustainability of fragile populations. With so many species now endangered, captive breeding is increasingly viewed as a means to sustain important insurance populations. As reproduction is key to species survival, understanding how to control and monitor ovarian function is vital. Through decades of study, we now have a greater understanding of the diversity, and plasticity, of reproductive mechanisms across taxa. Even within related species, there are marked differences in seasonal, environmental and social influences on ovarian cycle dynamics, ovulatory mechanisms, and responses to assisted reproductive/ovulation induction protocols. For most wildlife species, endocrine function is assessed noninvasively through analyses of hormones or their metabolites excreted in urine or feces. Perhaps it should not be surprising then, that major differences in metabolism and routes of excretion exist, not only between species, but also among hormone types within a species. This means that a species by species, and sometimes hormone by hormone, approach is essential for developing effective reproductive monitoring and control strategies. Over the past 30 years, our laboratory has developed and validated a number of reproductive assay techniques, which has led to our amassing a database of ovarian cycle dynamics on over 100 species. This paper presents an overview of ovarian physiology, and summarizes comparative ovarian function research on some of our most well-studied species: felids, elephants, rhinos, tapirs and the giant panda, and how that information has been used to aid ex situ management. Each of these species represents a range of reproductive strategies, from the highly seasonal, monestrus giant panda to the aseasonal, polyestrus elephant. Some species exhibit spontaneous ovulations, while others are induced ovulators or both, with variations in ovarian cycle lengths that range from a few days to several months. These differences reinforce the need for studies of species basic biology to optimize breeding strategies.
Brown, Janine L eng 2017/12/19 06:00 Theriogenology. 2018 Mar 15;109:2-13. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2017.12.004. Epub 2017 Dec 8.