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Follicular structures of cows with cystic ovarian disease present altered expression of cytokines

  • Antonela F. Stassi (a1), Natalia C. Gareis (a1) (a2), Belkis E. Marelli (a1) (a2), Valentina Matiller (a1) (a2), Cristian J.M. Leiva (a1), Florencia Rey (a1) (a2), Hugo H. Ortega (a1) (a2), Natalia R. Salvetti (a1) (a2) and M. Eugenia Baravalle (a1)...


Ovulation is considered an inflammatory, cytokine-mediated event. Cytokines, which are recognized as growth factors with immunoregulatory properties, are involved in many cellular processes at the ovarian level. In this sense, cytokines affect fertility and are involved in the development of different ovarian disorders such as bovine cystic ovarian disease (COD). Because it has been previously demonstrated that ovarian cells represent both sources and targets of cytokines, the aim of this study was to examine the expression of several cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-1RI, IL-1RII, IL-4 and IL-8, in ovarian follicular structures from cows with spontaneous COD. The protein expression of these cytokines was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Additionally, IL-1β, IL-4 and IL-8 concentrations in follicular fluid (FF) and serum were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In granulosa and theca cells, IL-1RI, IL-1RII, IL-1RA and IL-4 expression levels were higher in cystic follicles than in the control dominant follicles. The serum and FF concentrations of IL-1β and IL-4 showed no differences between groups, whereas IL-8 concentration was detected only in FF of cysts from cows with COD. The FF and serum concentrations of IL-1β and IL-8 showed no significant differences, whereas IL-4 concentration was higher in FF than in serum in both the control and COD groups. These results evidenced an altered expression of cytokines in ovaries of cows with COD that could contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: María Eugenia Baravalle. ICiVet-Litoral, Universidad Nacional del Litoral – CONICET, R.P. Kreder 2805. (3080) Esperanza, Santa Fe, Argentina. Tel: +54 3496 420639. Fax: +54 3496 426304. E-mail:


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