Influence of oxytocin infusion during oestrus and the early luteal phase on progesterone secretion and the establishment of pregnancy in ewes

Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences, Bristol, UK.
J Reprod Fertil 08/1991; 92(2):383-91. DOI: 10.1530/jrf.0.0920383
Source: PubMed


In Experiment 1, an osmotic minipump containing oxytocin was implanted s.c. in ewes for 12 days beginning on Day 10 of the oestrous cycle, producing approximately 100 pg oxytocin/ml in the plasma. Two days after the start of infusion, all ewes were injected with 100 micrograms cloprostenol and placed with a fertile ram. At slaughter 22 days later, 9 (75%) of the 12 control (saline-infused) ewes were pregnant compared with 1 (11%) of the 9 ewes infused with oxytocin. In the control group, midcycle plasma concentrations of oxytocin were significantly higher in nonpregnant than in pregnant ewes. In Experiment 2, an infertile ram was used throughout to avoid any possible effects of pregnancy and oxytocin infusions were given at different stages of the oestrous cycle. Otherwise the protocol was similar to that in Exp. 1. Oxytocin infusion during luteolysis and the early follicular phase had no effect on the subsequent progesterone secretion pattern, but infusions beginning the day before cloprostenol-induced luteolysis and lasting for 7 or 12 days and infusions beginning on the day of oestrus for 4 days all delayed the subsequent rise in plasma progesterone by approximately 3-4 days. In these animals, the cycle tended to be longer. It was concluded that an appropriate oxytocin secretion pattern may be necessary for the establishment of pregnancy in ewes and that a high circulating oxytocin concentration during the early luteal phase delays the development of the young corpus luteum.

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