Section: New Results
Clinical and physiological applications - Reproductive system
Anti-Mullerian Hormone Is an Endocrine Marker of Ovarian Gonadotropin-Responsive Follicles and Can Help to Predict Superovulatory Responses in the Cow
Participants : Frédérique Clément, Claire Médigue.
Collaboration with Danielle Monniaux (UMR CNRS-INRA 6175).
The major limitation to the development of embryo production in cattle is the strong between-animal variability in ovulatory response to FSH-induced superovulation, mainly due to differences in ovarian activity at the time of treatment. This study  aimed to establish whether anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) was an endocrine marker of follicular populations in the cow, as in human, and a possible predictor of the ovarian response to superovulation. Anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations in plasma varied 10-fold between cows before treatment and were found to be highly correlated with the numbers of 3- to 7-mm antral follicles detected by ovarian ultrasonography before treatment (r = 0.79, P < 0.001) and the numbers of ovulations after treatment (r = 0.64, P < 0.01). Between-animal differences in AMH concentrations were found to be unchanged after a 3-mo delay (r = 0.87, P < 0.01), indicating that AMH endocrine levels were characteristic of each animal on a long-term period. The population of healthy 3- to 7-mm follicles was the main target of superovulatory treatments, contained the highest AMH concentrations and AMH mRNA levels compared with larger follicles, and contributed importantly to AMH endocrine levels. In conclusion, AMH was found to be a reliable endocrine marker of the population of small antral gonadotropin-responsive follicles in the cow. Moreover, AMH concentrations in the plasma of individuals were indicative of their ability to respond to superovulatory treatments.
In vivo imaging of in situ motility of fresh and liquid stored ram spermatozoa in the ewe genital tract
Participant : Frédérique Clément.
Collaboration with Xavier Druart (UMR CNRS-INRA 6175)
The fertility of ram semen after cervical insemination is substantially reduced by 24 h of storage in liquid form. The effects of liquid storage on the transit of ram spermatozoa in the ewe genital tract was investigated using a new procedure allowing direct observation of the spermatozoa in the genital tract  . Ejaculated ram spermatozoa were double labeled with R18 and MitoTracker Green FM, and used to inseminate ewes in estrus either cervically through the vagina or laparoscopically into the base of the uterine horns. Four hours after insemination, the spermatozoa were directly observed in situ using fibered confocal fluorescence microscopy in the base, middle and tip of the uterine horns, the utero-tubal junction (UTJ) and the oviduct. The high resolution video images obtained with this technique allowed determination of the distribution of spermatozoa and individual motility in the lumen of the ewe's genital tract. The results showed a gradient of increasing concentration of spermatozoa from the base of the uterus to the UTJ 4 h after intra-uterine insemination into the base of the horns. The UTJ was shown to be a storage region for spermatozoa before their transfer to the oviduct. The in vitro storage of spermatozoa in liquid form decreased their migration through the cervix and reduced the proportion of motile spermatozoa and their straight line velocity at the UTJ and their transit into the oviduct.