Deviation in growth rates of the follicles of the ovulatory wave begins at the end of a common growth phase and is characterized by continued growth of the developing dominant follicle (F1) and regression of the largest subordinate follicle (F2). Follicle diameters during an interovulatory interval were compared between 30 mares and 30 women, using similar methods for collecting and analyzing data. Follicles were tracked and measured daily by ultrasonography. Diameter at follicle emergence (mares, 13 mm; women, 6 mm) and the required minimal attained diameter for assessment of follicles (mares, 17 mm; women, 8 mm) were chosen to simulate the reported ratio between the two species in mean diameter of F1 at the beginning of deviation (mares, 22.5 mm; women, 10.5 mm). F1 emerged before F2 (P < 0.02) in each species, and the interval between emergence of the two follicles was similar (not significantly different) between species. Growth rate for F1 and F2 during the common growth phase was similar within species, and the percentage of diameter increase was similar between species. Proportionality between species in diameter of F1 at deviation (2.2 times larger for mares than for women) and at maximum preovulatory diameter (2.1 times larger) indicated that relative growth of F1 after deviation was similar between species. A predeviation follicle was identified in 33% of mares and 40% of women and was characterized by growth to a diameter similar to F1 at deviation but with regression beginning an average of 1 day before the beginning of deviation. The incidence of a major anovulatory wave preceding the ovulatory wave was not different between species (combined, 25%). Results indicated that mares and women have comparable follicle interrelationships during the ovulatory wave, including 1) emergence of F1 before F2, 2) similar length of intervals between sequential emergence of follicles within a wave, 3) similar percentage growth of follicles during the common growth phase, and 4) similar relative diameter of F1 from the beginning of deviation to ovulation. Similar follicle dynamics between mares and women indicate the mare may be a useful experimental model for study of folliculogenesis in women, with the advantage of larger follicle size.
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