Anti-Mullerian Hormone Helps Assess Aging Mares’ Fertility

Mare fertility declines with age in association with reduced follicle count, and AMH is correlated with follicle count.
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Equine researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) have been chasing anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH, which is produced by cells in fetal testes as well as granulosa cells) for quite some time. They’ve determined they can use it to test for cryptorchidism in male horses as well as ovarian tumors in mares. Now, they’re trying to see if the hormone can predict an aging mare’s remaining follicle count.

Barry Ball, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, Albert G. Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at UK’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington, presented his group’s results in this area at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Mare fertility declines with age in association with reduced follicle count," Ball explained. In other species, such as cattle and mice, "AMH is highly correlated with antral follicle count (AFC, or the total number of follicles that can be counted on ultrasound)."

He hypothesized that AMH concentrations might help predict an aging mare’s AFC, reproductive longevity, and fertility

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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