Ovarian follicular dynamics in Boran and Crossbred heifers in Ethiopia: Implications for assisted reproductive techniques

  • Jeilu Jemal
  • Tamrat Degefa
  • Tefera Yilma
  • Sayid Ali
  • Lemma Alemayehu
Keywords: Estrus cycle; follicular wave; ovarian follicle; ovum pickup; ultrasound.


The study was conducted to characterize the follicular dynamics of purebred Boran (Bos indicus) and Boran * Holstein Friesian crossbred heifers  during estrous cycles; for use in ovum pick up and in-vitro embryo production. Insight of reproductive physiology of cattle would help to understand and exploit the reproductive potential of elite animals for breed improvement. Follicular development, growth and atresia during estrous cycles were evaluated using a trans-rectal real-time B-mode ultrasound system for three consecutive estrus cycles. Luteal activity was evaluated by serum progesterone level. Follicular aspirations were done to investigate the potential of Boran cattle and their crosses for transvaginal oocyte production; using a vacuum pressure pump and Aloka SSD Prosound-2 ultrasound device. Boran heifers (n=15) manifested two (n = 6, 40%), three (n = 5, 33%), four (n= 3, 20%) and five (n=1, 6.7%) follicular waves. Crossbred heifers (n=14) showed one (n= 2, 14%), two (n= 6, 43%) and three (n= 6, 43%) follicular waves. Interovulatory interval was 21.1 ± 3.4 and 21.4 ± 2.7 days for Boran (n=45) and crossbred (n=42) heifers, respectively. The progesterone level in Boran and Crossbred heifers during diestrus was 9.5 ± 11.0 and 4.6 ± 8.8 ng/ml, respectively. The maximum diameter of the ovulatory follicle for crossbred heifers was higher (15.4 ± 1.6 mm) than the diameter of the Boran (14.0 ± 1.9 mm) heifers (p<0.005). Differences (p<0.005) were observed in the size of both right (26.6 ± 5.14 and 28.6 ± 5.1 mm) and left (21.7 ± 4.85 and 24.1 ± 5.07 mm) ovaries of Boran and Crossbred heifers, respectively. Difference (p<0.005) was also observed in follicular count of the  right ovaries of Boran (4.84 ± 1.96) and Crossbred  (5.13 ± 2.05) heifers. Oocyte recovery rate in once weekly collection scheme for Boran and their crossbred heifers was (n=19, 42.08%) and (n=17, 42.55%), respectively. The recovery rate for twice weekly collection scheme was (n=24, 34.53%) and (n=23, 40.44%) for Boran and crossbred heifers, respectively. Follicular dynamics in Boran heifers is characterized by a higher incidence of cycles with two, three and four waves, associated with a low persistence of the dominant follicles; and smaller size of ovulatory follicles and less intense heat signs from their crossbred counterpart. Boran heifers proved to have potential for comparable number of follicular population and ease of aspiration procedures that can be tapped for advanced
reproductive techniques.

Keywords: Estrus cycle; follicular wave; ovarian follicle; ovum pickup; ultrasound.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2221-5034
print ISSN: 1683-6324