The effect of unilateral ovariectomy on early embryonic survival and embryo development in rabbits

R. Peiró, M. Gallego, A. Blasco, M.A. Santacreu


Unilateral ovariectomy can be used to study uterine capacity in rabbits because an overcrowding of the functional uterine horn is produced. Due to the uterus duplex, the rabbit is the ideal model for such studies. However, this technique may affect embryo survival. The aim of this work is to study the effect of unilateral ovariectomy on early embryo survival and development in rabbit. A total of 101 unilateral ovariectomised females and 52 intact females were compared after slaughter at 30 h post-mating. Early embryo survival was estimated as the ratio between number of embryo recovered and ovulation rate. No differences were found between intact and unilaterally ovariectomised females in this trait. Unilateral ovariectomy did not change embryo development, measured as the number of embryo cells. Variability of embryo development was not affected either. At 30 h post-mating, the majority of embryos (86.2%) were 4-cell stage. Embryo quality was evaluated according to morphological criteria. No difference in embryo quality between intact and unilaterally ovariectomised females was found. Therefore, unilateral ovariectomy performed before puberty in rabbit does not modify early embryo survival and development.


early embryo survival; embryo development; fertilisation rate; ovulation rate; unilateral ovariectomy

Full Text:



Al-Shorepy S.A., Clutter A.C., Blair R.M., Nielsen M.K. 1992. Effects of three methods of selection for litter size in mice on pre-implantation embryonic development. Biol. Reprod., 46: 958-963.

Argente M.J., Santacreu M.A., Climent A., Blasco A. 2008. Effects of intrauterine crowding on available uterine space per fetus in rabbits. Livest. Sci., 114: 211-219.

Bedford J.M. 1970. Sperm capacitation and fertilization in mammals. Biol. Reprod., 2: 128-158.

Blasco A., Argente M.J., Haley C.S., Santacreu M.A. 1994. Relationships between components of litter size in unilaterally ovariectomized and intact rabbit does. J. Anim. Sci., 72:3066-3072.

Blasco A., Bidanel J.P., Bolet G., Haley C.S., Santacreu M.A. 993. The genetics of prenatal survival of pigs and rabbits: a review. Livest. Prod. Sci., 37: 1-21.

Bolet G., Theau-Clement M. 1994. Fertilisation rate and preimplantation embryonic development in two rabbit strains of different fecundity, in purebreeding and crossbreeding. Anim. Reprod. Sci., 36: 153-162.

Christenson R.K., Leymaster K.A., Young L.D. 1987. Justification of unilateral hysterectomy-ovariectomy as a model to evaluate uterine capacity in swine. J. Anim. Sci., 67: 738-744.

Clutter A.C., Nielsen M.K., Johnson R.K. 1990. Alternative methods of selection for litter size in mice: I. Characterization of base population and development of methods. J. Anim. Sci., 68: 3536-3542.

Duc-Goiran P., Mignot T.M., Bourgeois C., Ferré F. 1999. Embryomaternal interactions at the implantation site: a delicate equilibrium. Eur. J. Obstet. Gynecol. Reprod. Biol., 83: 85-100.

Fateh El-Bab A.Z., Hassan A., Al-Bashary A., El-Habashy M.A. 1983. Effects of unilateral ovariectomization on the numbers of sperm in the oviducts, uterus and cervix of rabbits. Theriogenology, 19: 527-533.

Fleming T.P., Kwong W.Y., Porter R., Ursell E., Fesenko I., Wilkins A., Miller D.J., Watkins A.J., Eckert J.J. 2004. The embryo and its future. Biol. Reprod., 71: 1046-1054.

Fujimoto S., Rawson J.M.R., Dukelow W.R. 1974. Hormonal influences on the time of ovulation in the rabbit as determined by laparoscopy. J. Reprod. Fertil., 38: 97-103.

García-Ximénez F., Vicente J.S. 1992. Effect of ovarian cystic or haemorrhagic follicles on embryo recovery and survival after transfer in hCG-ovulated rabbits. Reprod. Nutr. Dev., 32: 143-149.

Herrler A., von Rango U., Beier H.M. 2003. Embryo-maternal signalling: how the embryo starts talking to its mother to accomplish implantation. Reprod. Biomed. Online, 6: 244-256.

Hunter R.H.F. 1982. Fisiología y tecnología de la reproducción de la hembra de los animales domésticos. Acribia, Zaragoza, España.

Knight J.W., Fuller W.B., Thatcher W.W., Franke D.E., Wallace H.D. 1977. Conceptus development in intact and unilaterally hysterectomized-ovariectomized gilts: interrelations among hormonal status, placental development, fetal fluids and fetal growth. J. Anim. Sci., 44: 620-637.

Koenig J.L.F., Zimmermann D.R., Eldridge F.E., Kopf J.D. 1986. The effect of superovulation and selection for high ovulation rate on chromosomal abnormalities in swine ova. J. Anim. Sci., 63: 202.

Lamberson W.R., Blair R.M., Long C.R. 1989. Effect of unilateral ovariectomy on reproductive traits of mice. Anim. Reprod. Sci., 20: 49-55.

Mehaisen G.M., Viudes de Castro M.P., Vicente J.S., Lavara R. 2006. In vitro and in vivo viability of vitrified and non-vitrified embryos derived from eCG and FSH treatment in rabbit does. Theriogenology, 65: 1279-1291.

Ménézo Y., Renard J.P. 1991. La vie de l´oeuf avant l´implantation. In: Thibault M.C. (ed). La reproduction chez les mammifères et l´home. INRA, Toulose, France, 339-358.

Peiró R., Santacreu M.A., Climent A., Blasco A. 2007. Early embryonic survival and embryo development in two divergent lines of rabbits selected for uterine capacity. J. Anim. Sci, 85:1634-1639.

Pope S., Xie D., Broermann M., Nephew K.P. 1990. Causes and consequences of early embryonic diversity in pigs. J. Reprod. Fertil., 40: 251-260.

Shulman A., Bennun I., Ghetler Y., Kaneti H., Shilon M., Beyth Y. 1993. Relationship between embryo morphology and implantation rate after in-vitro fertilization treatment in conception cycles. Fertil. Steril., 60: 123-126.

Torres S., Hulot F., Sevellec C. 1987a. Early stages of embryonic development in two rabbit genotypes. Reprod. Nutr. Dev., 27:715-719.

Torres S., Hulot F., Meunier M., Sevellec C. 1987b. Comparative study of preimplantation development and embryonic loss in two rabbit strains. Reprod. Nutr. Dev., 27: 707-714.

Tsiligianni T., Saratsi A., Besenfelder U., Anastasiadis A., Vainas E., Saratsis Ph., Brem G. 2004. The use of cytological examination of vaginal smears (CEVS) in the selection of rabbits for superovulation. Theriogenology, 61: 989-995.

Veeck L.L., Maloney M. 1986. Insemination and fertilization. In: Jones H.W., Jones G.S., Hodgen G.D., Rosenwaks Z. (ed). Invitro fertilization-norfolk. Wiliams and Wilkins, Baltimore, USA,


Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011