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  • 1 University of Agriculture Department of Animal Physiology Al. Mickiewicza 24/28 30-059 Cracow Poland
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The aim of the present investigation was to study the effect of tamoxifen (TAM), an oestrogen receptor antagonist, on the concentrations of sex hormones in chicken ovarian follicles. The experiment was carried out on Hy-line hens which were randomly divided into two groups (control and experimental). TAM was given at a dose of 4 mg/hen ( per os ) at first once a day for 7 consecutive days, and subsequently four times a day for the next 6 days. Control hens received placebo. Birds were killed on the day after the last TAM treatment. From the dissected ovaries the following compartments were isolated: stroma with follicles < 1 mm, white non-hierarchical (1–4 mm and 4–8 mm) and yellow hierarchical follicles (F6-F1; 18–35 mm). The concentrations of the sex steroids progesterone (P4), testosterone (T) and oestradiol (E2) in the ovarian follicles were determined by radioimmunoassay. In the TAM-treated group, a gradual decrease in egglaying rate was observed from the 4th day of the experiment. Eventually, egg laying stopped entirely on the 12th day of the experiment. TAM significantly decreased the weight of the ovary and affected the sex hormone concentrations in the ovarian follicles. Following TAM treatment (1) a significant increase in E2 and T concentrations in the stroma, white follicles and the F4 and F1 follicles, (2) a significant decrease in E2 and T concentrations in the F2 follicle, and (3) a significant decline of P4 in the F4 to F1 follicles were observed. The results indicate that the blockade of oestrogen receptors by TAM significantly modulates the process of chicken ovarian steroidogenesis.

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