Improving ovarian blood flow in pigs
This project aims to determine whether nutritional supplementation with arginine prior to ovulation improves ovarian blood flow and oocyte quality in female pigs.
Ovarian blood flow affects delivery of gonadotrophins and metabolic factors to the developing follicle, and as such affect oocyte and follicle competence. In humans, substances which improve ovarian blood flow also improve response to gonadotrophins.
- The effects of arginine supplementation on ovarian blood flow and response to exogenous gonadotrophins will be determined using young female pigs. Diets will be fed prior to puberty.
- Response to exogenous gonadotrophins will be determined based on ovarian follicle growth.
- One ovary will be used for collection of follicular fluid to determine intra-follicular levels of key metabolites, steroids and gonadotrophins.
- The second ovary will be used to measure the expression of angiogenic factors (including, vascular endothelial factor, angiopoietin and hypoxia inducible factor).
- Doppler ultrasound will be used prior to the first ovulation and on days 14, 16 and 18 of the first oestrous cycle to assess ovarian blood flow.
Study production animal health
Dr Will Van Wettere's research focuses primarily on developing management strategies to improve the reproductive performance of female production animals (in particular pigs, sheep and cattle). This includes:
- increasing neonatal survival, as well as their growth and reproductive potential
- developing phenotypic markers of reproductive potential and longevity,
- improving the quality of oocyte/embryo donors and embryo recipients,
- alleviating seasonal infertility, and
- improving ovarian function.
If you have a specific interest in the above areas and would like to discuss potential honours projects, please contact Will.