Reproductive seasonality in the mare: neuroendocrine basis and pharmacologic control. Academic Article uri icon


  • Reproductive seasonality in the mare is characterized by a marked decline in adenohypophyseal synthesis and secretion of LH beginning near the autumnal equinox. Thus, ovarian cycles have ceased in most mares by the time of the winter solstice. Endogenous reproductive rhythms in seasonal species are entrained or synchronized as a result of periodic environmental cues. In the horse, this cue is primarily day length. Hence, supplemental lighting schemes have been used managerially for decades to modify the annual timing of reproduction in the mare. Although a full characterization of the cellular and molecular bases of seasonal rhythms has not been realized in any species, many of their synaptic and humoral signaling pathways have been defined. In the mare, neuroendocrine-related studies have focused primarily on the roles of GnRH and interneuronal signaling pathways that subserve the GnRH system in the regulatory cascade. Recent studies have considered the role of a newly discovered neuropeptide, RF-related peptide 3 that could function to inhibit GnRH secretion or gonadotrope responsiveness. Although results that used native peptide sequences have been negative in the mare and mixed in all mammalian females, new studies that used an RFRP3 antagonist (RF9) in sheep are encouraging. Importantly, despite continuing deficits in some fundamental areas, the knowledge required to control seasonal anovulation pharmacologically has been available for >20 yr. Specifically, the continuous infusion of native GnRH is both reliable and efficient for accelerating reproductive transition and is uniquely applicable to the horse. However, its practical exploitation continues to await the development of a commercially acceptable delivery vehicle.

published proceedings

  • Domest Anim Endocrinol

author list (cited authors)

  • Williams, G. L., Thorson, J. F., Prezotto, L. D., Velez, I. C., Cardoso, R. C., & Amstalden, M.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Williams, GL||Thorson, JF||Prezotto, LD||Velez, IC||Cardoso, RC||Amstalden, M

publication date

  • January 2012