Concentrations of gonadotrophins and prolactin were recorded in pony stallions castrated during the early breeding season, to examine the regulatory role of the gonad at a time when testosterone has been postulated to exert positive feedback on LH secretion. Further, gonadotrophin concentrations in geldings are reported to return to values within the normal range of the entire stallion. In an attempt to characterize this species-specific reversal, the gonadotrophin concentrations of 6 male ponies castrated on 25 March were monitored for 4 months, and 4 stallions were used to generate control data. Blood samples were collected daily, from 3 d before to 10 d after castration (Day 0), and weekly thereafter until Day 122. The pituitary response to castration was immediate. Castration resulted in a previously unreported, dramatic (13-fold) but transient (3 d) surge in circulating concentrations of LH. Concentrations of LH and FSH increased in a logarithmically scaled (LH, R2 = 0.77; FSH, R2 = 0.93) manner over the subsequent 5 wk, during which temporal changes in concentrations of both hormones were strongly correlated (R2 = 0.97). The ratio of plasma gonadotrophin concentrations was consistent throughout (LH:FSH, 1.43 ± 0.04). Maximal concentrations of LH (20.58 ± 1.97 ng/mL, Day 34.8 ± 3.2) were attained approximately 2 wk before the peak in FSH (16.99 ± 1.97 ng/mL, Day 49.7 ± 3.0). Plasma gonadotrophin concentrations exceeded those of entire stallions throughout the study. The equine testes inhibited LH secretion during the early breeding season, and no chronic decrease in plasma gonadotrophin concentrations was recorded. However, the LH surge evident for 3 d immediately afer castration, may be related to the dynamic seasonal interaction between gonadal steroids and the regulation of pituitary gonadotrophin release.
- Seasonal breeding