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Waberski, Dagmar; Doehring, Anke; Ardon, Florencia; Ritter, Nadine; Zerbe, Holm; Schuberth, Hans-Joachim; Hewicker-Trautwein, Marion; Weitze, Karl Fritz; Hunter, Ronald H. F. (2006): Physiological routes from intra-uterine seminal contents to advancement of ovulation. In: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 48:13


Whole boar semen or seminal plasma has been demonstrated to advance the time of ovulation in gilts. As a means of clarifying this influence, the contribution of uterine lymphatics and their white cell populations has been examined. After duct visualisation with Evan's blue, lymph was sampled from a mesometrial vessel in eight pre-ovulatory gilts whose uterine lumen was infused simultaneously with whole semen in one ligated horn and saline in the contralateral ligated horn. Lymph was collected from cannulated vessels for periods of up to four hours under general anaesthesia. Thereafter, mesometrial lymph nodes, utero-tubal junction and uterine wall tissues were sampled. The proportion of nucleated cells in the sampled lymph increased towards the end of the collection period, but erythrocytes were found in all instances preventing a meaningful differentiation and identification of leukocytes. Prominent uterine lymph nodes were present in the mesometrium on both sides of the reproductive tract in 7 of 10 gilts. Differences in cellular contents were demonstrated between the side of the tract infused with semen and that infused with saline control. Two of 4 gilts had lower values for CD4 (Cluster Differentiation) and 3 of 6 gilts higher values for MHC II (Major Histocompatibility Complex) markers on the side challenged with semen. In contrast, values remained constant for CD8 but ranged widely for CD18. Immunohistochemical analysis of uterine tissue samples for MHC II+ cells revealed significant differences (P < 0.05) between the control and semen-treated ligated portions of the horns, as well as between the tissue sample of uterine wall and that from the utero-tubal junction, but there were no significant differences for CD4+ cells. It therefore remains plausible that semen-induced cytokines in the uterine lymph undergo counter-current transfer to the ipsilateral ovary and accelerate the final maturation of pre-ovulatory Graafian follicles.