Suppression and subsequent rebound of ovarian activity using a progestin (levonorgestrel; Norplant) versus a GnRH antagonist (antide) was assessed in the domestic cat via fecal estradiol and progesterone metabolite analyses. Following an initial dose-response trial, queens were assigned to one of four treatments: (1) antide, two 6 mg/kg injections 15 days apart (n = 8 cats); (2) levonorgestrel, six silastic rods (36 mg levonorgestrel/rod) implanted for 30 days (n = 8); (3) control injections (n = 5); and (4) control implants (n = 5). Steroid metabolites were quantified from daily fecal samples for 90 days before, 30 days during, and 90 days after treatment. Antide and levonorgestrel inhibited estrous cyclicity in contrast to continued cyclicity in controls. Cats already at estradiol baseline in antide (n = 7) and levonorgestrel (n = 4) groups remained inhibited during treatment. In females with elevated estradiol levels at treatment onset (Day 0), a normal estradiol surge was completed before concentrations declined to baseline (∼Days 5-7) and remained suppressed throughout the remaining treatment period. Additionally, 56% of treatment animals exhibited at least one spontaneous ovulation during the pre-treatment period, but no female ovulated during treatment with levonorgestrel or antide. Antide-treated cats exhibited lower (P < 0.05) baseline estradiol concentrations during treatment compared to pre- and post-treatment. In contrast, levonorgestrel induced elevations in baseline estradiol following treatment compared to pre- and during treatment intervals. Control females showed no change (P > 0.05) in baseline estradiol throughout the study period. All levonorgestrel and antide cats returned to estrus after treatment withdrawal. Results demonstrate that: (1) both antide and levonorgestrel are effective for inducing short-term suppression of follicular recruitment and ovulation in the cat; (2) inhibition is reversible; and (3) GnRH antagonists and progestins differentially regulate basal estradiol secretion. This study also confirmed a relatively high incidence of spontaneous ovulation in the cat, a species generally considered to be an induced ovulator.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by grants to K.M.P. and J.G.H. from the National Institutes of Health (Grant number 1 KO 01 RR17310-01), the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies Program and by a Graduate Fellowship awarded to K.M.P. by the University of Maryland. Dr. Harold Nash of the Population Council (New York, New York) kindly provided Norplant implants, and antide was generously provided by Dr. Jean Rivier of the Salk Institute. We are indebted to Laura Graham, Astrid Bellem, and Kendall Mashburn for advice with the fecal hormone assays and to Michele Sommers for excellent animal care. Cat food was donated by the Ralston Purina Company (St. Louis, Missouri).
- Estrous cycle
- Fecal steroid
- GnRH antagonist