Kisspeptide in the estrous mare: is it an appropriate ovulation-inducing agent?

Theriogenology. 2012 Dec;78(9):1987-96. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.07.012. Epub 2012 Oct 5.


Kisspeptides (KiSS) are a recently discovered family of neuropeptides with a central role in regulating the onset of reproductive function in all animals studied to date. We have established biological and physiological evidence for KiSS signaling in the mare. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the physiological and behavioral responses of mares repeatedly given the equine-specific kisspeptpin decapeptide (eKp-10, YRWNSFGLRY-NH(2)) in an effort to shorten the interovulatory period. Administration of eKp-10 (0.5 mg iv every 4 h) to mares beginning on Day 16 postovulation (Group 2) or in estrus (Group 3) did not shorten the mean ± SEM interovulatory interval compared with untreated (Group 1) controls (21.9 ± 1.2, 22 ± 1.2, and 21.5 ± 1.5 days in Groups 1 to 3, respectively; N = 6 per group), nor was there a significant difference in follicle diameter before ovulation among groups, nor number of days treated with eKp-10 for Groups 2 and 3. Mean daily concentrations of FSH, the preovulatory LH surge (timing, mean, and peak concentrations), and mean progesterone concentrations from the newly formed CL were not significantly different among groups. The initiation of treatment was negatively correlated with sexual receptivity (scored 0 to 5: no interest to strong interest) and serum estradiol concentrations, indicating that eKp-10 can significantly disrupt normal sexual receptivity in the estrous mare. This effect on sexual receptivity was short-lived (< 72 h) and the overall change in sexual receptivity score was not significantly different between Groups 2 and 3 (-1.2 ± 0.5 and -1.4 ± 0.4, respectively). However, the day of the cycle that treatment was initiated significant affected the decline in sexual receptivity score, such that the later in the cycle that treatment was initiated, the greater the estimated decrease in sexual receptivity. In conclusion, the linear hypothalamic-pituitary mechanism for KiSS described in other species was not appropriate for the horse and administration of eKp-10 in the seasonally estrous mare may have been outside of the hormone's normal physiological context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estrus / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Kisspeptins / pharmacology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Ovulation / drug effects*
  • Ovulation Induction / veterinary*
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects


  • Kisspeptins
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone