Publish Date: April 9, 2010
By definition, anestrus is a condition in swine during which females do not exhibit estrous cycles. During anestrus, the ovaries are relatively inactive and neither large follicles (ovarian structures that contain an ovum or egg, and that secrete large quantities of estrogen; Figure 1) or functional corpora lutea (ovarian structures that secrete progesterone; Figure 2) are present. Anestrus usually results from insufficient secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamic area of the brain. In cycling gilts and sows, GnRH travels by blood to the anterior pituitary gland, a pea-sized organ located near the base of the brain, where it causes secretion of the gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and folliclestimulating hormone (FSH). The LH and FSH in turn, stimulate growth of ovarian follicles, ovulation and in the case of LH, normal function of corpora lutea.