Expression of atresia biomarkers in granulosa cells after ovarian stimulation in heifers

  • Publication date : 2018-06-15


Landry DA, Rossi-Perazza L, Lafontaine S, Sirard MA. Expression of atresia biomarkers in granulosa cells after ovarian stimulation in heifers. Reproduction. 2018 Jun 15. pii: REP-18-0186. doi: 10.1530/REP-18-0186. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29907662.


The use of younger gamete donors in dairy cattle genetic selection programs significantly accelerates genetic gains by decreasing the interval between generations. Ovarian stimulation and the practice of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) withdrawal, also known as coasting, are intensively used in pre-pubertal heifers without detrimental effects on subsequent reproductive performance but generally with lower embryo yields. However, recent data from embryo transfer programs showed similar embryo yields in younger and sexually mature animals but with a significant difference in the coasting period. The aim of the present study was to identify a set of granulosa cell biomarkers capable of distinguishing optimal follicle differentiation from late differentiation and atresia in order to assess the differences in coasting dynamics between pre- and post-pubertal donors. We integrated transcriptomic data sets from a public depository and used vote counting meta-analysis in order to elucidate the molecular changes occurring in granulosa cells during late follicle differentiation and atresia. The meta-analysis revealed the gene expression associated with follicle demise, and most-importantly, identified potential biomarkers of that status in bovine granulosa cells. The comparison of the expression of six biomarkers between pre- and post-pubertal donors revealed that younger donors had more signs of atresia after the same period of coasting. We found different follicular dynamics following coasting in younger donors. It is possible that younger donors are less capable to sustain follicular survival most likely due to insufficient LH signaling.