Bilateral follicular cysts in a water buffalo
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- Khan, F.A., Nabi, S.U., Pande, M. et al. Trop Anim Health Prod (2011) 43: 539. doi:10.1007/s11250-010-9738-4
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The present short communication puts on record a case of bilateral, multiple follicular cysts in a water buffalo along with a detailed description of its ovarian biometry and follicular fluid composition. The ovarian weight and biometrical parameters were much higher than in normal cycling buffaloes. A total of three follicular cysts were observed, two on the right ovary and one on the left ovary, measuring 4.9, 3.0 and 2.6 cm yielding 21, 9 and 5 ml of follicular fluid, respectively. The cystic fluid was deep yellow in colour with a viscous consistency. The follicular fluid concentrations of glucose, total protein, cholesterol, acid phosphatase, calcium, phosphorus and progesterone in all the cysts were within the range reported previously in normal buffalo follicular fluid; however, the alkaline phosphatase concentration in cyst 1 and total bilirubin concentration in cysts 1 and 2 were higher than the values in normal follicular fluid. In contrast, the levels of urea nitrogen in cysts 1 and 3, and oestradiol in cyst 3 were lower than the normal values. All the three follicles had an oestradiol to progesterone ratio less than 1. The results of our study suggest that follicular cysts in buffalo are oestrogenically inactive and have an altered concentration of certain biochemical and hormonal constituents.
Buffalo contributes significantly in terms of milk, meat and draught to the rural economy especially in the tropical and subtropical countries (Campanile et al. 2010). Ovarian cysts are one of the important causes of infertility in the species, already beset with many inherent problems in reproduction (Das and Khan 2010). Ovarian follicular cysts are anovulatory structures with a diameter of 2.0 cm or above that persist for a variable period in the absence of a corpus luteum (Braw-Tal et al. 2009). The incidence of follicular cysts varies between 2.8% (buffalo heifers) to 4.2% (buffalo cows). The condition has been reported to be unilateral in all the cases, involving mostly the right ovary (60.7%) than the left one (39.3%) (Luktuke and Arora 1972); however, there is lack of information pertaining to biometry of buffalo ovaries with follicular cysts to the best of our knowledge. Besides, information about the physical characteristics, biochemical, hormonal and mineral composition of cystic follicles in this species is scanty. The present short communication describes a case of bilateral follicular cysts in a buffalo with a detailed study of ovarian biometry, surface follicular characteristics and composition of the follicular fluid.
Materials and methods
The ovaries of a water buffalo bearing bilateral, multiple follicular cysts were collected from the local abattoir and transported to the laboratory on ice within 30 min of collection. The surrounding fat and other tissues (adnexa) were trimmed off and the ovaries were weighed. Measurement of length, breadth and thickness was done with the help of a divider compass and metric scale. Briefly, length of the ovary was taken as the distance from the anterior pole to the posterior pole, width as the greatest distance from the medial to the lateral surfaces and height or thickness as the greatest distance along an axis vertical to the longitudinal axis (base) at its center or distance from attached to the free borders as described previously (Razzaque et al. 2008). The number, size, shape and texture of the cystic follicles was subsequently noted and follicular fluid was aspirated using a sterile syringe (10 ml) and needle (22 gauge), except for one follicle in which slicing had to be done using a sterile surgical blade, measured as per the calibrations on the syringe and transferred to centrifuge tubes kept in an ice bath. The samples were centrifuged in a refrigerated centrifuge at 4°C and 2,500 rpm for 20 min. After aspirating the supernatant, aliquots were prepared for different parameters and stored at −20°C till assay.
The follicular fluid was assayed for different biochemical parameters, including glucose, total protein, cholesterol, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, urea nitrogen and bilirubin, and minerals calcium and phosphorus using commercial kits (Span Diagnostics Limited, India). Oestradiol and progesterone concentrations in the follicular fluid were estimated with the help of a highly sensitive heterologous enzyme immunoassay (EIA) (Sarkar et al. 2006). The intra- and interassay coefficients of variation were 8.4% and 9.8%, respectively. Prior to estimation of hormones, the follicular fluid was diluted with EIA assay buffer, pH 7.2 (1:150 and 1:5 for oestradiol and progesterone assay, respectively).
Biochemical, mineral and hormonal levels in buffalo cystic follicular fluid
Normal follicular fluida
Total protein (g/dl)
ACP (KA units)
ALP (KA units)
Urea nitrogen (mg/dl)
Total bilirubin (mg/dl)
The weight and biometrical dimensions of the ovaries were much higher compared to those in normal cycling buffaloes (Razzaque et al. 2008; Khan et al. 2009). A total of three follicles in this case exceeded the minimum diameter criterion for follicular cysts (Braw-Tal et al. 2009), and there was no corpus luteum in either of the two ovaries, justifying diagnosis of the case as follicular cysts. The follicular fluid obtained from these cysts was deep yellow in colour as opposed to light yellow in normal follicles which can be attributed to the high level of bilirubin present in the cystic fluid. All the three cystic follicles had an oestrogen to progesterone ratio less than 1 indicating that they are functionally oestrogen inactive follicles (Palta et al. 1998). The high level of progesterone in follicular fluid might have resulted in a negative feedback upon the hypothalamus or pituitary preventing the onset of LH surge, a primary factor responsible for ovulation, thus leading to the persistence of the follicles as anovulatory structures. The higher levels of alkaline phosphatase compared to normal follicular fluid provides further evidence about the atretic state of these follicles. The alterations in certain biochemical and hormonal constituents of follicular fluid in the present case reiterate the fact that follicular fluid can serve as an important indicator of the functional status of the follicle (Eissa 1996). The inevitable question whether the alterations are a cause or an effect of the condition needs to be investigated in future studies.
In conclusion, follicular cysts in buffaloes result in abnormal ovarian biometry and there is alteration in the physical characteristics as well as certain biochemical and hormonal constituents of follicular fluid.
The authors are thankful to Prof. H.H.D. Meyer, Technical University of Munich, Germany for his generous gift of the immunochemicals used in this study. Technical assistance provided by Dr. Vijay and Mr. Q. Hassan is also deeply acknowledged.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.