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      ACTH-induced stress in weaned sows impairs LH receptor expression and steroidogenesis capacity in the ovary

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          Stress has been proved to impair the porcine reproduction soundly. Endocrine disruption, which is closely related to the persistent follicles, is possibly one of the results of stress, although the mechanism is unclear. Since the expression of luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) in ovarian follicular wall and concentrations of steroid hormone in follicular fluid are related to the development of persistent follicles, this study is designed to evaluate the effect of administered adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) to weaned pigs on their ovarian steroidogenesis capacity and LHR expression.


          Ten multiparous sows were weaned and randomly divided into two groups ( n = 5 each). Sows received 1 IU/kg ACTH (ACTH group) or saline (control group) every 8 h from days 3–9 after jugular vein intubation. Blood samples were collected throughout the experiment, and ovaries were collected after slaughter on day 10. Follicular fluid (FF) was used to determine the steroid hormone concentrations. The ovarian follicle wall was obtained and stored in liquid nitrogen to detect mRNA levels.


          The plasma cortisol concentration was significantly ( P < 0.01) elevated after ACTH injection. The estradiol (E 2) and androstenedione (ASD) concentrations in FF were significantly lower ( P < 0.05) in the ACTH group than in the control group. The LHR, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), cytochrome P450 aromatase (P450arom), and cytochrome P450 17a-hydroxylase (P450c17) mRNA levels were significantly ( P < 0.05) reduced in the ACTH group. The steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) level and cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage (P450scc) was lower in the ACTH group than in the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant ( P > 0.05). Immunostaining results revealed 3β-HSD,P450c17, and LHR expression in theca cells, and P450arom expression in granulosa cells. Immunohistochemical staining showed significant differences in the distribution of 3β-HSD, P450c17, LHR, and P450arom between the two groups.


          These findings indicated that ACTH significantly diminished the LHR expression and steroidogenesis capacity of the ovaries of weaned sows.

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          Most cited references 42

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                Author and article information

                [1 ]College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Weigang 1, Nanjing, 210095 China
                [2 ]College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, 210095 China
                +86 2584395316 ,
                Reprod Biol Endocrinol
                Reprod. Biol. Endocrinol
                Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E
                BioMed Central (London )
                14 November 2016
                14 November 2016
                : 14
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: the National Key Basic Research Program of China
                Award ID: 2014CB138502
                Funded by: the National Natural Science Foundation of China
                Award ID: 31672520
                Award ID: 31372403
                Funded by: Jiangsu Natural Science Foundation of China
                Award ID: BK20160732
                Funded by: China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (CN)
                Award ID: 2016M591860
                Funded by: the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions
                Funded by: the Sino-German Agricultural Cooperation Project of the Federal Ministry of Food
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                © The Author(s) 2016

                Human biology

                weanling sows, lh receptor, steroidogenesis, stress, acth


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