The effect of prenatal photoperiodic history on the postnatal endocrine status of female lambs

R J A Helliwell, Jacqueline Wallace, Raymond Aitken, P A Racey, J. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Postnatal photoperiodic experience plays a pivotal role in determining the timing of ovarian activity in female lambs. This study examines whether a photoperiodic history gained while in utero is able to influence this timing.

Pregnant Soay ewes were maintained in either long days (n = 7, 18 h light: 6 h dark; group PLD) or short days (it = 12, 6 h light: 18 h dark; group PSD) from 25 days of gestation. At birth, female lambs (ii = 8 per group) were transferred to long days for 10 weeks, and then placed under short days until the end of the experiment at 38 weeks of age. Blood samples were collected from lambs on the day of birth and three times weekly for the duration of the study and the resulting plasma assayed for progesterone and prolactin.

Although both gestational photoperiods produced. at best, abbreviated periods of ovarian activity, lambs born to ewes which experienced long days during gestation (group PLD) exhibited elevated plasma progesterone concentrations significantly earlier (P < 0.05) than lambs born to ewes exposed to short days during gestation (group PSD) (mean +/- SEM, 193 +/- 17 versus 244 +/- 14 days for. PLD and PSD groups, respectively. Plasma prolactin concentrations in newborn lambs born between late December and early April were not affected by the ambient photoperiod. but reflected the artificial daylength experienced by their mothers during gestation. Lambs born to ewes maintained under long days during gestation (group PLD) had significantly higher prolactin concentrations on the day of birth than lambs born to ewes maintained under short days during gestation (group PSD) (45 +/- 5.4 ng/ml versus 7 +/- 3.7 ng/ml respectively, P < 0.001). The mean birth weight, rate of live weight gain and live body weight of lambs at the end of the experiment did not vary significantly between treatment groups. These results suggest that the ovine foetus is sensitive to photoperiodic information prior to birth, and develops a photoperiodic history which, under the present experimental conditions, modulates the subsequent endocrine status of the neonatal lamb. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalANIMAL REPRODUCTION SCIENCE
Volume47
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

Keywords

  • sheep-endocrinology
  • photoperiod
  • gestation
  • ovarian activity
  • prolactin
  • PROLACTIN SECRETION
  • OVINE FETUS
  • EWE LAMBS
  • PUBERTY
  • OVULATION
  • ONTOGENY
  • PERIOD
  • GROWTH
  • SHEEP

Cite this

Helliwell, R. J. A., Wallace, J., Aitken, R., Racey, P. A., & Robinson, J. (1997). The effect of prenatal photoperiodic history on the postnatal endocrine status of female lambs. ANIMAL REPRODUCTION SCIENCE, 47(4), 303-314.

The effect of prenatal photoperiodic history on the postnatal endocrine status of female lambs. / Helliwell, R J A ; Wallace, Jacqueline; Aitken, Raymond; Racey, P A ; Robinson, J.

In: ANIMAL REPRODUCTION SCIENCE, Vol. 47, No. 4, 07.1997, p. 303-314.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Helliwell, RJA, Wallace, J, Aitken, R, Racey, PA & Robinson, J 1997, 'The effect of prenatal photoperiodic history on the postnatal endocrine status of female lambs', ANIMAL REPRODUCTION SCIENCE, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 303-314.
Helliwell, R J A ; Wallace, Jacqueline ; Aitken, Raymond ; Racey, P A ; Robinson, J. / The effect of prenatal photoperiodic history on the postnatal endocrine status of female lambs. In: ANIMAL REPRODUCTION SCIENCE. 1997 ; Vol. 47, No. 4. pp. 303-314.
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AB - Postnatal photoperiodic experience plays a pivotal role in determining the timing of ovarian activity in female lambs. This study examines whether a photoperiodic history gained while in utero is able to influence this timing.Pregnant Soay ewes were maintained in either long days (n = 7, 18 h light: 6 h dark; group PLD) or short days (it = 12, 6 h light: 18 h dark; group PSD) from 25 days of gestation. At birth, female lambs (ii = 8 per group) were transferred to long days for 10 weeks, and then placed under short days until the end of the experiment at 38 weeks of age. Blood samples were collected from lambs on the day of birth and three times weekly for the duration of the study and the resulting plasma assayed for progesterone and prolactin.Although both gestational photoperiods produced. at best, abbreviated periods of ovarian activity, lambs born to ewes which experienced long days during gestation (group PLD) exhibited elevated plasma progesterone concentrations significantly earlier (P < 0.05) than lambs born to ewes exposed to short days during gestation (group PSD) (mean +/- SEM, 193 +/- 17 versus 244 +/- 14 days for. PLD and PSD groups, respectively. Plasma prolactin concentrations in newborn lambs born between late December and early April were not affected by the ambient photoperiod. but reflected the artificial daylength experienced by their mothers during gestation. Lambs born to ewes maintained under long days during gestation (group PLD) had significantly higher prolactin concentrations on the day of birth than lambs born to ewes maintained under short days during gestation (group PSD) (45 +/- 5.4 ng/ml versus 7 +/- 3.7 ng/ml respectively, P < 0.001). The mean birth weight, rate of live weight gain and live body weight of lambs at the end of the experiment did not vary significantly between treatment groups. These results suggest that the ovine foetus is sensitive to photoperiodic information prior to birth, and develops a photoperiodic history which, under the present experimental conditions, modulates the subsequent endocrine status of the neonatal lamb. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.

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KW - photoperiod

KW - gestation

KW - ovarian activity

KW - prolactin

KW - PROLACTIN SECRETION

KW - OVINE FETUS

KW - EWE LAMBS

KW - PUBERTY

KW - OVULATION

KW - ONTOGENY

KW - PERIOD

KW - GROWTH

KW - SHEEP

M3 - Article

VL - 47

SP - 303

EP - 314

JO - Animal Reproduction Science

JF - Animal Reproduction Science

SN - 0378-4320

IS - 4

ER -