In the majority of vertebrates, gametogenesis and gamete-release depend on the pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) from the hypothalamus. Studies attempting to artificially stimulate ovulation and spermiation may benefit from mimicking the naturally episodic secretion of LHRH by administering priming injections of a synthetic analogue (LHRHa). This study investigated the impact of low-dose priming injections of LHRHa on gamete-release in the Australian toadlet Pseudophryne guentheri.
Toadlets were administered a single dose of two micrograms per. gram LHRHa without a priming injection (no priming), or preceded by one (one priming) or two (two priming) injections of 0.4 micrograms per. gram LHRHa. Spermiation responses were evaluated at 3, 7 and 12 hrs post hormone administration (PA), and sperm number and viability were quantified using fluorescent microscopy. Oocyte yields were evaluated by stripping females at 10-11 hrs PA. A sub-sample of twenty eggs per female was then fertilised (with sperm obtained from testis macerates) and fertilisation success determined.
No priming induced the release of the highest number of spermatozoa, with a step-wise decrease in the number of spermatozoa released in the one and two priming treatments respectively. Peak sperm-release occurred at 12 hrs PA for all priming treatments and there was no significant difference in sperm viability. Females in the control treatment failed to release oocytes, while those administered an ovulatory dose without priming exhibited a poor ovulatory response. The remaining two priming treatments (one and two priming) successfully induced 100% of females to expel an entire clutch. Oocytes obtained from the no, or two priming treatments all failed to fertilise, however oocytes obtained from the one priming treatment displayed an average fertilisation success of 97%.
Spermiation was most effectively induced in male P. guentheri by administering a single injection of LHRHa without priming. In contrast, female P. guentheri failed to ovulate without priming. A single priming injection induced the release of oocytes of high viability compared to oocytes obtained from females in the two priming treatment which underwent a process of over-ripening.