Effect of single-chain ovine gonadotropins with dual activity on ovarian function in sheep

Heloisa M. Rutigliano, Utah State University
Betty M. Adams, University of California
Albina Jablonka-Shariff, Washington University School of Medicine
Irving Boime, Washington University School of Medicine
Thomas E. Adams, University of California


We examined the half-life and biological activity of two single-chain proteins that combined portions of ovine FSH and LH. We proposed the hypothesis that these chimeric proteins would display LH and FSH activities and would promote follicle maturation in ewes. Estrus activity was synchronized using progestogen-impregnated vaginal pessaries. To negate the impact of endogenous LH and FSH, animals received serum-containing antibodies against GNRH 1 day before pessary removal (PR). At PR sheep (five animals per group) received a single injection (10 IU/kg, i.v.) of either the ovine-based (oFcLcα) gonadotropin analog, an ovine-based analog containing oLHβ truncated at the carboxyl terminus (oFcL(ΔT)cα), or a human-based gonadotropin analog (hFcLcα). Control animals received a comparable amount of gonadotropin-free protein. Ovulation was induced 3 days after PR using human chorionic gonadotropin (1000 IU, i.v.). Ovaries were collected 11 days after PR. Neither estradiol (E2) or progesterone (P4) production, development of preovulatory follicles or corpora lutea (CL) were noted in control animals receiving gonadotropin-free protein. Significant increase in the synthesis of E2 and P4 was noted in sheep receiving the dually active gonadotropin analogs. The number of CLs present 11 days after PR was significantly increased in sheep receiving the chimeric glycoproteins compared with control animals. The magnitude of the secretory and ovarian responses did not differ between hFcLcα and oFcLcα or between oFcLcα and oFcL(ΔT)cα. Immunoactivity of LH and FSH was low in control animals, but was significantly elevated in sheep receiving the gonadotropin analogs. In conclusion, ovine-based gonadotropin analogs are functionally active in sheep and a single injection is adequate to induce the development of multiple ovulatory follicles.