Currently, it is clear that female reproduction is regulated by the hypothalamic–pituitary-ovary axis, which produces many hormones that control reproductive stages. It is therefore important to have knowledge of new regulators/hormones controlling reproduction in domestic animals. In female animals, energy metabolism and fertility are tightly connected, and reciprocally regulated. The adipose tissue is well known to be implicated in the secretion of several hormones, such as the adiponectin, resistin, chemerin, visfatin, vaspin and apelin, the so-called adipokines or “adipose tissue-derived hormones”. Many reports indicate that adipokines regulate the ovarian follicles’ development, the onset of puberty and/or ovulation. This chapter summarizes that several adipokines are expressed in the ovary and that they can regulate ovarian physiology such as the steroid hormone production, cell proliferation, apoptosis and oocyte maturation in different domestic animals like pigs, cows, goats, ewes, chickens and turkeys.
Part of the book: New Insights into Theriogenology