Article

16 INDUCTION OF FOLLICULAR TURNOVER TO IMPROVE FERTILITY IN DAIRY COWS EXPOSED TO SUMMER HEAT STRESS

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Abstract

The reduced conception rate of high-lactating cows during the hot season is a well-documented phenomenon. Previous studies have provided evidence of the ovarian follicle and the susceptibility of its enclosed oocyte to thermal stress, suggesting that heat-shock-induced disruption of follicular and oocyte function is involved in the mechanism underlying the reduced fertility. Evaporative cooling improves summer fertility to some extent. However, there is a compelling need to find additional ways to improve fertility further during the hot season. In the current study, we hypothesized that induction of consecutive follicular waves by administration of GnRH + PGF2α would improve fertility, with the aim of removing damaged follicles and enhancing the emergence of healthier ones. The study was conducted from July to November (2006 to 2007) on healthy, cyclic cows yielding an average of 43.6 kg of milk day–1 in 2 commercial herds exposed to an efficient cooling systems. Control cows (C; n = 187) were artificially inseminated (AI) after estrus around Days 80 to 90 postpartum. Treated cows (T; n = 195) were hormonally treated to induce consecutive follicular cycles, beginning with an injection of GnRH (1.5 mL, Gonabreed) to induce ovulation and followed by injection of PGF2α (2.5 mL, Estromat) 7 days later to regress the corpora lutea. In this manner, 3 successive 9-day follicular waves were induced. Cows manifesting estrus (determined by pedometric monitoring, Afimilk, Kibbutz Afikim, Israel) following the third PGF2α injection were inseminated, and pregnancy was determined 44 days post-AI. Statistical analysis (logistic regression, SAS) was performed, taking into account the following parameters: season, milk level, body condition score (BCS), somatic-cell count, and number of lactations. Overall, the GnRH-PGF2α treatment resulted in a slight increase in conception rate (27 and 32% for C v. T, respectively; NS). Conception rate was higher in cows exhibiting estrus within 5 days after the third PGF2α injection than in those exhibiting estrus later (41 v. 31%, respectively). The most prominent effect was associated with the number of lactations: treatment did not affect the conception of multiparous cows, but a significantly higher conception rate was noted for first-calf heifers (37 and 53% for C v. T, respectively; P < 0.05). A similar pattern was noted for cows yielding less than 40 kg of milk day–1 (36 and 51% for C v. T, respectively; NS), but not in those yielding more than 40 kg of milk day–1. Numerically, but not significantly, higher conception rates were noted for T cows with high BCS at parturition (+15%) or at peak lactation (+13%), and in cows with a low somatic cell count (+10%) relative to the C group. Interestingly, there was no treatment × season (summer v. fall) interaction. Taken together, the combination of hormonal treatment-induced follicular turnover and efficient cooling appears to improve summer and autumn fertility, mainly in first-calf heifers.

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... We showed in previous studies that the ovarian follicles and the enclosed oocytes are susceptible to thermal stress (Roth et al., 2001). We examined the possibility that induction of consecutive follicular waves by administration of GnRH + PGF 2á with the aim to enhance the removal of damaged follicles and to enhance the emergence of healthier ones will improve fertility (Roth et al., 2009). Three consecutive 9-day follicular cycles were induced with GnRH and PGF 2á 7 days later. ...
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... We showed in previous studies that the ovarian follicles and the enclosed oocytes are susceptible to thermal stress (Roth et al., 2001). We examined the possibility that induction of consecutive follicular waves by administration of GnRH + PGF 2á with the aim to enhance the removal of damaged follicles and to enhance the emergence of healthier ones will improve fertility (Roth et al., 2009). Three consecutive 9-day follicular cycles were induced with GnRH and PGF 2á 7 days later. ...
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Luteal lifespan is short after first postpartum ovulation in early-weaned beef cows unless cows are pretreated with a progestogen. Regression of the short-lived corpus luteum in the postpartum beef cow is due to a premature release of prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha) from the uterus. The premature release of PGF2 alpha may be mediated through lower concentrations of receptors for progesterone, higher concentrations of oxytocin receptors, or both, in the endometrium. Thirty-one beef cows were randomly assigned to four groups at parturition. Calves from cows assigned to the short cycle group (n = 6; control) and the short cycle/endometrium group (n = 10) were weaned at 30-32 days post partum. Cows in the normal cycle group (n = 5; control) and the normal cycle/endometrium group (n = 10) received norgestomet implants for 9 days beginning 21-23 days post partum and calves were weaned at implant insertion. Duration of oestrous cycle (x +/- SEM; P < 0.01) following first postpartum ovulation for the short cycle group was 11.5 +/- 1.9 days compared with 18.8 +/- 0.6 days for the normal cycle group. On day 5 following first postpartum ovulation, cows in the short cycle/endometrium and the normal cycle/endometrium groups were hysterectomized and endometrial tissue collected for measurement of progesterone and oxytocin receptors. Mean number of total progesterone receptors per cell was lower (P < 0.05) in the short cycle/endometrium group than in the normal cycle/endometrium group. Mean concentration of oxytocin receptors (fmol mg-1 protein) in the short cycle/endometrium group was higher (P < 0.05) than that in the normal cycle/endometrium group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Article
An experiment compared the effectiveness of a timed AI and an AI at observed estrus. Lactating dairy cows were injected with PGF2 alpha at 30 +/- a range of 3 d postpartum, with a GnRH agonist at 65 +/- a range of 3 d, and with PGF2 alpha 7 d later; control cows (n = 128) were inseminated at detected estrus, but cows in the timed AI group (n = 171) received a second injection of GnRH agonist 48 h after the injection of PGF2 alpha and were inseminated 16 h later. Control cows that were not inseminated within 7 d were resynchronized with GnRH agonist, followed 7 d later with an injection of PGF2 alpha. Pregnancy rate was 30.5% for control cows and 29.0% for cows in the timed AI group, and conception rate was 41.5% for control cows and 26.5% for cows in the timed AI group. Days open for cows that conceived by 120 d postpartum was 83.6 d for control cows and 79.2 d for cows in the timed AI group. Treatment by month interactions indicated that pregnancy and conception rates and days open for cows that conceived were more consistent across months for cows in the timed AI group. Differences (control vs. timed AI) were not detected for overall pregnancy rate by 120 d postpartum (58.8 +/- 4.7% vs. 56.2 +/- 4.4%). Conception and pregnancy rates at first synchronization were influenced positively by body condition and plasma concentrations of progesterone at 65 d postpartum. Timed AI was an effective alternative for reproductive management.
Article
Twenty nonlactating beef cows were used to determine the effects of dietary energy restriction on ovarian follicular and corpus luteum (CL) development. Cows were fed to either gain (controls) or lose (restricted; RES) body weight. Observations continued until RES cows developed a subfunctional CL (progesterone [P4] < 1.5 ng/mL on d 10 of a cycle; n = 4) or had functional CL (P4 > or = 1.5 ng/mL on d 10 of a cycle; n = 6) followed by anestrus, at which time observations were discontinued on individual controls. Estrous cycles were then standardized for all cows. For RES cows developing subfunctional CL, cycle A was the cycle before development of the subfunctional CL, and cycle B was the 11-d period during development of a subfunctional CL. For RES cows with a functional CL, cycle A was the next to last cycle before anestrus, and cycle B was the 11-d period during formation of a functional CL. Daily P4 concentrations did not differ (P > .10) between controls or RES cows developing functional CL during cycle B but were lower (P < .05) in RES cows developing subfunctional CL. Ovulatory follicles and CL were smaller (P < .05) in RES cows during cycles A and B compared with controls. Daily IGF-l concentrations were higher on d 2 through 4 of both cycles in RES cows developing functional CL compared with RES cows developing subfunctional CL (P < .05). Feeding diets limited in energy resulted in two types of CL. These differences may have been due to IGF-I concentrations.
Article
The study was designed to examine the relationships among calving season, energy balance, temperature humidity index (THI), and postpartum ovulation in high producing cows in a subtropical environment. Holstein cows calving in a feedlot dairy in southeast Queensland during winter (n = 23) and summer (n = 21) were monitored during the first 9 weeks of lactation. Cows were weighed and blood samples collected twice weekly: plasma progesterone, plasma metabolites related to energy and mineral balance, and haematological measurements were performed. Milk production was measured, body condition score was estimated, and trans-rectal ultrasound examinations of the ovaries were each undertaken once a week. The interval between calving and first ovulation was significantly longer in cows calving in summer (22.8 vs. 17.6 days, P < 0.05). Interval from calving to the first postpartum ovulation (FOVL) was inversely related to the mean plasma glucose concentration for the first 9 weeks after calving (GLU): FOVL = 80.0-17.9GLU, (R2 = 0.25, P < 0.001). Plasma progesterone concentration during the life of the second corpus luteum after calving was negatively correlated with THI during the first 2 weeks after calving (r = 0.55, P < 0.001). Plasma glucose concentration (GLU) was negatively correlated with milk yield (MYD) and rectal temperature (RT), and positively correlated with plasma calcium concentration (Ca) according to the following regression equation. GLU = 33.1 - 0.02MYD + 0.91Ca - 0.48RT, (R2 = 0.58, P = 0.0001).
Article
Follicular growth, lifespan of the corpus luteum, and antioxidant status of lactating Holsteins that experienced heat stress were monitored. Eleven multiparous cows, 60 to 110 d in milk, were maintained from 0800 to 1800 h daily in environmental chambers from d 11 to 21 of the estrous cycle. Cows were randomly assigned to a heat stress (mean dry bulb temperature peaked at 38.3 degrees C) or control treatment (mean dry bulb temperatures varied from 20.8 to 25.6 degrees C). Rectal temperature and respiration rates of heat-stressed cows were higher at 1600 h than were those of control cows. The length of the estrous cycle and the interval from estrus until luteolysis were not different between treatments. Two of 6 control cows and 1 of 5 heat-stressed cows had extended cycles (> 24 d). Heat-stressed cows had more class 1 (2 to 5 mm) follicles from d 11 to 15 of the estrous cycle. Numbers of class 2 (6 to 9 mm) and class 3 (> or = 9 mm) follicles were similar between treatments. Plasma progesterone concentrations were higher for heat-stressed cows until d 19 of the estrous cycle. Treatment did not affect concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, retinol, retinyl palmitate, or total protein in plasma or concentrations of malondialdehyde in muscle. In conclusion, heat stress did not extend luteal function or the length of the estrous cycle of lactating Holstein cows but did affect follicular growth and progesterone concentrations in plasma. Heat stress did not appear to increase lipid peroxidation or decrease lipid-soluble antioxidant concentrations in blood.
Article
During early pregnancy the bovine embryo must produce a protein called interferon tau which inhibits the development of the luteolytic mechanism. Failure to inhibit luteolysis is the major cause of pregnancy loss in cows. The embryo must produce sufficient quantities of interferon tau by about day 16 to prevent luteolysis. Its ability to achieve this is largely dependent on the pattern of maternal progesterone production. A late rise in progesterone after ovulation or poor progesterone secretion during the luteal phase results in the development of poor embryos capable of producing little or no interferon tau at the critical time. The embryo inhibits luteolysis by preventing development of oxytocin receptors on the luminal epithelium of the uterine endometrium and thus oxytocin-induced secretion of PGF2 alpha and by the induction of a prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor within the endometrium. In sheep it has been hypothesised that interferon tau acts to inhibit endometrial oestrogen receptors and thus oestrogen-induced up-regulation of oxytocin receptors. In cows, the embryo inhibits the development of oxytocin receptors and the initiation of luteolysis without causing any change in uterine oestrogen receptors. Thus in the cow, the mechanism by which interferon tau inhibits oxytocin receptor development remains to be determined.
Article
An epidemiological study of risk factors for postpartal ovarian disturbances was carried out on 334 high-yielding dairy cows in 6 well-managed Belgian herds. Ovarian activity was closely monitored using progesterone profiles, based on twice weekly RIA-analysis for progesterone in milk fat, starting at 10 d after calving and continuing until the confirmation of a new pregnancy. Attention was focused on abnormal cyclicity during the preservice, postpartum period; cows were divided into 6 different categories. Three of these categories (normal profile, delayed cyclicity, and prolonged luteal phase) were of major importance and were analyzed using a multiple variable logistic regression model. Season of calving (stable vs pasture, odds ratio (OR)=5.7), an extended length of the previous dry period (> 77 vs < or = 63 d, OR=2.9), problem calvings (OR=3.6), abnormal vaginal discharge (OR=4.5), health problems during the first month of lactation (clinical disease, OR=5.4; ketosis, OR=11.3), and clinical parameters illustrating the appearance of a severe negative energy balance significantly increased the risk for delayed cyclicity before service. Parity (> or = 4 vs 1, OR=2.5), problem calvings (OR=2.9), occurrence of puerperal disturbances (OR ranged from 3.5 to 11.0), health problems during the first month of lactation (OR=3.1), and an early resumption of ovarian cyclicity after calving (< 19 d vs > 32 d, OR=2.8) increased the risk for prolonged luteal cycles before service.
Article
Summer heat stress (HS) is a major contributing factor in low fertility in lactating dairy cows in hot environments. Although modern cooling systems are used in dairy farms, fertility remains low. This review summarizes the ways in which the functioning of various parts of the reproductive system of cows exposed to HS is impaired. The dominance of the large follicle is suppressed during HS, and the steroidogenic capacity of theca and granulosa cells is compromised. Progesterone secretion by luteal cells is lowered during summer, and in cows subjected to chronic HS, this is also reflected in lower plasma progesterone concentration. HS has been reported to lower plasma concentration of LH and to increase that of FSH; the latter was associated with a drastic reduction in plasma concentration of inhibin. HS impairs oocyte quality and embryo development, and increases embryo mortality. High temperatures compromise endometrial function and alter its secretory activity, which may lead to termination of pregnancy. In addition to the immediate effects, delayed effects of HS have been detected as well. Among them, altered follicular dynamics, suppressed production of follicular steroids, and low quality of oocytes and developed embryos. These may explain the low fertility of cattle during the cool autumn months. Hormonal treatments improve low summer fertility to some extent but not sufficiently for it to equal winter fertility. A limiting factor is the inability of the high-yielding dairy cow to maintain normothermia. A hormonal manipulation protocol, which induces timed insemination, has been found to improve pregnancy rate and to reduce the number of days open during the summer.
Article
Effects on reproduction of dystocia, stillbirth, abortion, milk fever, retained placenta, metritis, cystic ovaries, anestrus, ketosis, displaced abomasum, locomotor disorders, and mastitis were reviewed. Papers were considered if they provided quantitative estimates of diseases on days to first estrus, days to first service, conception rate at first service, days from first service to conception, days to conception or days open, calving interval, conception rates at various days post partum (dpp), and number of services per conception or per cow. Only papers in English in peer-reviewed journals were selected for analysis of post 1960 data from intensive dairy regions. Seventy papers fulfilled the selection criteria. Summary estimates of disease effects were calculated according to meta-analysis methods, and study designs were described in detail to identify possible heterogeneity of the results. Stillbirth, milk fever, displaced abomasum and mastitis had no effect on reproduction. Clinical ketosis, dystocia and retained placenta were associated with 2 to 3 more days to first service and with a 4 to 10% lower conception rate at first service, resulting in 6 to 12 more days to conception. Locomotor disorders were associated with an average increase of 12 d to conception, with wide variation depending on lesions and stage of occurrence. Metritis was associated with 7 more days to first service, 20% lower conception rate at first service, resulting in 19 more days to conception. Cystic ovaries were associated with 6 to 11 more days to first service and with 20 to 30 more days to conception. Anestrus was associated with 26 more days to first service and with an 18% lower conception rate at first service, resulting in 41 more days to conception. Abortion was associated with 70 to 80 more days to conception.
Article
In this study, the relationship between maternal hormone environment and early embryo development in mature non-lactating Holstein-Friesian cows was investigated. Animals were inseminated at either 72 or 96 h after prostaglandin injection (n = 23) or were left as uninseminated controls (n = 10). Plasma samples were collected once a day from the first day of insemination (day 1) until day 16, when the cows underwent an oxytocin challenge, and were then slaughtered and their reproductive tracts removed. The tracts were flushed to collect embryos and the flushes were measured for interferon tau (IFN-tau) activity. Inseminated cows without an embryo on day 16 (n = 5) underwent both delayed ovulation (indicated by delayed decrease in oestradiol concentrations) and a delayed increase in progesterone concentrations after ovulation compared with cows with an embryo on day 16 (n = 15). Within the group of cows with an embryo, those with poorly developed embryos producing undetectable concentrations of IFN-tau (n = 7) had similar oestradiol profiles but underwent a delayed progesterone increase after ovulation compared with cows with well developed embryos producing measurable quantities of IFN-tau (n = 8). In the cows with an embryo, the plasma concentration of 13,14-dihydro-15-keto PGF2a, the principal metabolite of PGF2a, after injection of oxytocin was lower than that of control cows and cows without an embryo. However, when the cows with an embryo were compared on the basis of production of embryonic IFN-tau, the PGF2a response to oxytocin was attenuated completely in cows that had measurable IFN-tau activity, whereas a response of similar magnitude to that in control cows and cows without an embryo was observed in those with undetectable IFN-tau activities. In conclusion, the successful maternal recognition of pregnancy in cows depends on the presence of a sufficiently well developed embryo producing sufficient quantities of IFN-tau, which is, in turn, dependent on an appropriate pattern of maternal progesterone secretion.
Article
Embryonic development is inhibited by exposure of cultured embryos to high temperatures. However, culture temperatures used to demonstrate the effects of heat on development have been higher than the body temperatures experienced typically by heat-stressed cows. The aim of this study was to determine whether exposing bovine oocytes and embryos to temperatures characteristics of body temperatures of heat-stressed cows would affect embryonic development in vitro. The CO2 percentage of the gas phase was adjusted in all experiments to prevent pH changes in the medium caused by decreased solubility of CO2 at high temperatures. Fertilization of oocytes at 41.0°C reduced cleavage rate and the percentage of oocytes that became blastocysts compared with at 38.5°C. There was no deleterious effect of fertilization at 40.0°C. When putative zygotes and two-cell embryos were exposed to a range of temperatures from 38.5 to 41.0°C for 3,6,9 or 12 h, heat shock reduced the number that developed to the blastocyst stage but only after exposure to 41.0°C for 9 or 12 h. In addition, it was tested whether low O2 tension would reduce the detrimental effects of heat shock. The deleterious effect of 41.0°C was not dependent upon oxygen content or the gas mixture used for culture (5% versus 20.95% O2), indicating that the deleterious effects of heat shock did not depend upon a high O2 environment. In the final experiment, embryos were exposed to 24 h fluctuations in temperature designed to mimic the rectal temperatures of cows exposed to heat stress. Exposure of embryos to this pattern of temperatures starting after fertilization reduced development when embryos were exposed to this environment for 8 days but not when embryos were exposed for 1 day only. These findings indicate that embryonic development can be disrupted by a short-term severe or a prolonged mild heat shock and that the effects of heat shock are not artefacts of changes in pH or high oxygen tension.
Article
Low progesterone concentrations during the bovine oestrous cycle induce enhanced responsiveness to oxytocin challenge late in the luteal phase of the same cycle. The delayed effect of low progesterone concentrations during one oestrous cycle on uterine PGF(2alpha) secretion after oxytocin challenge on day 15 or 16 of the subsequent cycle was studied by measuring the concentrations of the major PGF(2alpha) metabolite (13,14-dihydro-15-keto PGF(2alpha); PGFM) in plasma. Two experiments were conducted, differing in the type of progesterone treatment and in the shape of the low progesterone concentration curves. In Expt 1, progesterone supplementation with intravaginal progesterone inserts, with or without an active corpus luteum, was used to obtain high, or low and constant plasma progesterone concentrations, respectively. In Expt 2, untreated cows, representing high progesterone treatment, were compared with cows that had low but increasing plasma progesterone concentrations that were achieved by manipulating endogenous progesterone secretion of the corpus luteum. Neither experiment revealed any differences in plasma progesterone concentrations between the high and low progesterone groups in the subsequent oestrous cycle. In both experiments, both groups had similar basal concentrations of PGFM on day 15 (Expt 1) or 16 (Expt 2) of the subsequent oestrous cycle, 18 days after progesterone treatments had ended. In both experiments, the increases in PGFM concentrations in the low progesterone groups after an oxytocin challenge were markedly higher than in the high progesterone groups. These results indicate that low progesterone concentrations during an oestrous cycle have a delayed stimulatory effect on uterine responsiveness to oxytocin during the late luteal phase of the subsequent cycle. This resulting increase in PGF(2alpha) secretion may interfere with luteal maintenance during the early stages of pregnancy.
Article
The objectives were to evaluate effects of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (3,300 IU i.m.) administered on d 5 after AI on CL number, plasma progesterone concentration, conception rate, and pregnancy loss in high-producing dairy cows. Following the synchronization of estrus and AI, 406 cows were injected with either hCG or saline on d 5 after AI in a randomized complete block design. Blood sampling and ovarian ultrasonography were conducted once between d 11 and 16 after AI. Pregnancy diagnoses were performed on d 28 by ultrasonography and on d 45 and 90 after AI by rectal palpation. Treatment with hCG on d 5 resulted in 86.2% of the cows with more than one CL compared with 23.2% in controls. Plasma progesterone concentrations were increased by 5.0 ng/mL in hCG-treated cows. The presence of more than one CL increased progesterone concentration in hCG-treated cows but not in controls. Conception rates were higher for hCG-treated cows on d 28 (45.8 > 38.7%), 45 (40.4 > 36.3%), and 90 (38.4 > 31.9%) after AI. Treatment with hCG improved conception rate in cows losing body condition between AI and d 28 after Al. Pregnancy losses were similar between treatment groups. Treatment with hCG on d 5 after AI induces accessory CL, enhances plasma progesterone concentration, and improves conception rate of high-producing dairy cows.
Article
The current review aims to establish insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) as the factor that signals nutritional status to the reproductive axis, and show that assessment of IGF-I in blood early postpartum during the negative energy balance (NEB) period could be used to predict both nutritional and reproductive status in dairy cattle. The review also explores the effect of nutritional status on circulating IGF-I concentrations and the endocrine role of IGF-I on the reproductive axis. IGF-I plays an important role in gonadotropin-induced folliculogenesis, ovarian steroidogenesis and corpus luteum (CL) function. It also modulates pituitary and hypothalamus function. IGF-I clearly has an endocrine role on the reproductive axis. Severe under nutrition significantly reduces plasma IGF-I concentrations. During the critical period of NEB in high yielding dairy cattle early postpartum, IGF-I concentrations are low in blood and its levels are positively correlated to energy status and reproductive function during this period. Changes in circulating IGF-I immediately postpartum may help predict both nutritional and reproductive status in dairy cattle. IGF-I is therefore one of the long sought factors that signal nutritional status to the reproductive axis.
Article
The objective of this study was to evaluate whether administration of GnRH postinsemination would improve reproductive performance in heat-stressed dairy cattle. Estrous cycles of Holstein cows were synchronized using the OvSynch protocol and cows were artificially inseminated. Cows were then administered the following treatments: control (no GnRH; n=37), GnRH (100 microg) on Day 5 (GnRH-D5; n=34), or GnRH (100 microg) on Day 11 (GnRH-D11; n=34) postinsemination. Cows were provided access to both fans and sprinklers, and environmental data was collected hourly. Rectal temperatures and blood samples were obtained from cows on Days -9, -2, 0 (AI) and on alternate days from Day 5 to Day 19 postinsemination. Blood serum was collected for the analysis of progesterone (P(4)) by RIA. In a subset of cows (n=6/treatment) ultrasonography was performed on alternate days from Day 5 to Day 19 postinsemination to assess numbers of corpora lutea (CL) and CL cross-sectional areas. Pregnancy status of cows was confirmed at Day 30 postinsemination. Environmental data indicated that cows experienced mild heat stress during the trials (mean daily THI=73-77). Serum P(4) was greater (P<0.05) after Day 9 for GnRH-D5 cows and after Day 15 for GnRH-D11 cows through Day 19 postinsemination. The number of CLs present for GnRH-D5 cows was greater (P<0.05) on Day 17 than in either the control or GnRH-D11 treatment groups. On Day 17 postinsemination, both the GnRH-D5 and GnRH-D11 cows were observed to have greater (P<0.05) total CL tissue area than control cows. The interval from insemination to when serum P(4) returned to <1 ng/ml (i.e. luteolysis and return to estrus) did not differ (P>0.10) among treatment groups. Control cows (19%) tended to exhibit lower pregnancy rates (P<0.08) compared to the GnRH-D5 and GnRH-D11 treatment groups combined (35%). In summary, the treatment of heat-stressed dairy cows with GnRH postinsemination (Day 5 or 11) results in the appearance of more CL tissue, increased serum concentrations of P(4) and a tendency toward greater pregnancy rates.
Article
Blood concentrations of progesterone, 13,14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin F2alpha (PGFM) and endotoxin, and uterine fluid concentrations of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), PGFM and endotoxin were evaluated in 14 dairy cows with puerperal endometritis (mild (n=6) and heavy (n=8)). Endotoxin was measured using a quantitative kinetic assay. Cows with heavy endometritis had significantly higher concentrations of plasma PGFM (P<0.01) and uterine fluid PGE(2) and endotoxin (P<0.05) than cows with mild endometritis. Concentrations of PGFM in plasma and uterine fluid, of PGFM and PGE(2), and PGE(2) and endotoxin in uterine fluid were positively and significantly (P<0.05) correlated. The presence of endotoxin in plasma was detected in one out of six mild and in eight out of eight heavy endometritis cows. Peak plasma endotoxin concentrations (0.08-9.14 endotoxin units/ml (EU/ml) were observed between 1 and 12 days postpartum (pp) and thereafter amounts generally remained below 0.1 EU/ml (last day of detection: Day 27 pp). Abnormal ovarian function was observed in six cows (four with prolonged anoestrus and two with long luteal phase after the first postpartum ovulation). Plasma endotoxin concentrations were detected in the anoestric cows. The results suggest that: (i) concentrations of uterine fluid endotoxin and PGE(2) and of plasma PGFM are related to the degree of endometritis; (ii) absorption of endotoxin from the uterus to the bloodstream occurs, mainly in heavy endometritis cows; and (iii) there is a relationship between uterine infection, endotoxin production and resumption of pp ovarian activity.
Article
Nutrition is a major factor affecting cow reproductive efficiency. Long-term moderate or chronic dietary restriction results in a gradual reduction in dominant follicle (DF) growth rate, maximum diameter and persistence. Animals become anoestrus when they lose on average 22-24% of their initial body weight. There is evidence of significant animal-to-animal variation in the interval from the imposition of dietary restriction to onset of anoestrus and from the recommencement of re-alimentation to resumption of ovulation. In contrast, acute dietary restriction to 40% of maintenance requirements rapidly reduces dominant follicle growth rate and maximum diameter and induces anoestrus in a high proportion (60%) of heifers within 13-15 days of dietary restriction. In lactating dairy and beef cows negative energy balance or reduced dietary intake in the early post-partum period, while not affecting the population of small-to-medium size follicles, adversely affects the size and ovulatory fate of the dominant follicle. Re-alimentation of nutritionally induced anoestrous heifers results in an initial gradual increase in dominant follicle growth rate and maximum diameter, followed by a more accelerated increase in dominant follicle growth rate and maximum diameter as the time of resumption of ovulation approaches. Increased dominant follicle growth rate and maximum diameter are associated with increased peripheral concentrations of IGF-I, pulsatile LH and oestradiol. Direct nutritional effects on ovarian function appear to operate through hepatic rather than follicular regulation of IGF-I, and on systemic concentrations of IGF-I BPs and insulin; cumulatively reducing follicular responsiveness to LH and ultimately shutting down follicular oestradiol production. Indirect nutritional effects are apparently mediated through altering the GnRH pulse generator and in-turn selectively reducing pulsatile LH secretion without any apparent adverse effect on FSH secretory patterns. Endogenous opioid peptides, NPY and glucose appear to play a role in the nutritional regulation of GnRH release and in turn pulsatile LH secretion.
Article
It was hypothesized that gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) treatment at the time of insemination and 12 days later increases conception rates. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of GnRH treatment at the time of insemination or at the time of insemination and 12 days later on reproductive performance during the warm season in high producing dairy cows. The effect of GnRH treatment on the incidence of subsequent twin pregnancies and pregnancy losses was also evaluated. Data were analyzed using logistic regression methods.
Article
In cattle, increasing early embryonic losses are associated with inadequate progesterone concentrations within the first three weeks of pregnancy. The aim of this study was to investigate the complex relationship between early maternal progesterone concentration and embryo development early within the first week of pregnancy, specifically, on day 5 post-oestrus in dairy cows. Twenty Holstein-Friesian cows at the end of lactation were inseminated at oestrus (day 0) and on day 5 post-oestrus cows were slaughtered and the reproductive tract flushed to determine the presence and stage of embryo development. Three cows that had failed to synchronise correctly were excluded from analysis while in the remaining 17 cows 11 (65%) were pregnant with embryos at the morula (n = 3), 9-16 (n = 3) and 8-cell (n = 5) stages of development. No differences in day 5 plasma progesterone concentrations or corpus luteum (CL) size or progesterone content were observed between pregnant (n = 11) and non-pregnant (n = 6) cows. In cows with embryos beyond the 8-cell stage of development (n = 6) plasma progesterone concentration (P < 0.001) and CL weight (P < 0.01) were higher and plasma insulin concentrations lower (P < 0.001) than in cows with 8-cell embryos (n = 5). In addition there was a negative relationship between plasma progesterone and plasma insulin in pregnant cows (R(2) = 0.65; P < 0.005). In cows with an embryo present in the oviduct, oviductal glucose concentrations were lower (P < 0.05) than in cows with no embryo present. These results confirm progesterone is not only directly associated with embryo development, but that it may indirectly modulate embryo development via changes in the oviductal environment. In summary, the association between maternal progesterone concentration and embryo development exists as early as day 5 of pregnancy in dairy cows.
Article
One strategy for improving fertility in cattle is mid-cycle administration of GnRH to increase progesterone secretion and delay luteolysis. This strategy might be especially useful during hot weather because heat stress increases uterine prostaglandin release and reduces development of the elongating embryo. A series of experiments was conducted to test the efficacy of GnRH for increasing fertility. There was no effect of administration of 100 microg GnRH at Day 11 after anticipated ovulation on pregnancy rates in virgin heifers subjected to timed artificial insemination (TAI) during the summer. Similarly, there was no beneficial effect of administration of GnRH at Day 11 after anticipated ovulation on pregnancy rates of lactating cows subjected to TAI in summer and winter. Three experiments tested effects of injection of GnRH at Days 14 or 15 after anticipated ovulation on pregnancy rates of lactating cows. The first experiment used 477 lactating cows subjected to TAI. Cows receiving GnRH at Day 14 had higher pregnancy rates in both summer and winter than cows receiving vehicle (20.3 versus 12.7%, P<0.02). When this experiment was repeated during summer with 137 cows, there was a negative effect of GnRH treatment at Day 14 on pregnancy rate. In the third experiment, lactating cows during summer were inseminated at detected estrus and cows were assigned to treatment with either GnRH or vehicle at Days 14 or 15 after insemination. Pregnancy rates were 25.6% (32/125) for cows receiving vehicle, 20.7% (19/92) for cows receiving GnRH at Day 14, and 20.3% (16/79) for cows receiving GnRH at Day 15. In conclusion, GnRH administration at Days 11-15 after anticipated ovulation or estrus did not consistently increase pregnancy rates in either cool or warm seasons.
Article
We have investigated the effects of the timing of progesterone supplementation on early embryo development in mature, non-lactating Holstein-Friesian cows. Animals were inseminated 72 h (day 1) and 96 h following prostaglandin injection and were either left as untreated controls (n=6) or received progesterone supplementation from either days 5 to 9 (early; n=6) or from days 12 to 16 (late; n=6). Daily plasma samples were collected until day 16, when cows were slaughtered and reproductive tracts recovered and flushed to collect embryos and to measure interferon-tau activity. Both early and later progesterone supplementation resulted in marked increases in plasma progesterone (P<0.01). Early, but not late, progesterone supplementation resulted in a fourfold increase in trophoblast length (P<0.01) and a sixfold increase in uterine concentration of interferon-tau (P<0.05). The results demonstrate that progesterone supplementation during the postovulatory rise, but not later in the luteal phase, increases embryo development and interferon-tau production.
Article
We investigated whether CIDR-based ovulation-synchronization protocols inhibit secretion of prostaglandin (PG) F2alpha from the uterus in the following luteal phase in non-cycling beef cows. Ten early (a month) postpartum non-cycling Japanese Black beef cows were treated with (1) Ovsynch (GnRH analogue on Day 0, PGF2alpha analogue on Day 7, and GnRH analogue on Day 9; n=3), (2) Ovsynch+CIDR (Ovsynch protocol plus a CIDR for 7 days from Day 0; n=4), or (3) estradiol benzoate (EB) Ovsynch+CIDR (EB on Day 0 in lieu of the first GnRH treatment followed by the Ovsynch+CIDR protocol; n=3). An oxytocin challenge was administered on Day 24 to examine uterine PGF2alpha secretion. Plasma concentrations of 13,14-dihydro-15-keto- PGF2alpha were lower at 30-120 min after oxytocin administration in the Ovsynch+CIDR group and 75 min after administration in the EB Ovsynch+CIDR group than in the Ovsynch group (P<0.05). Plasma progesterone concentrations were higher from Days 1 to 7 in the Ovsynch+CIDR group and from Days 1 to 5 in the EB Ovsynch+CIDR group than in the Ovsynch group (P<0.05). The progesterone concentrations were higher on Days 27 and 29 in both CIDR-treated groups than in the Ovsynch group (P<0.05). In conclusion, in non-cycling beef cows, CIDR-based ovulation-synchronization protocols inhibit uterine PGF2alpha secretion in the following luteal phase and prevent premature luteolysis as is seen with the Ovsynch protocol.
Article
In cattle, the first postpartum dominant follicle grows slower and produces less oestradiol in animals with high numbers of bacteria contaminating the uterine lumen. However, only bacteria that are uterine pathogens are correlated with severe clinical disease and an increased inflammatory response. It is unknown whether the effect on the ovary in relation to uterine bacterial contamination is associated with the presence of recognised uterine pathogens. Therefore, the present study examined the relationship between pathogenic bacteria in the postpartum uterine lumen, follicle growth and function and the formation of a competent corpus luteum. In addition, peripheral plasma concentrations of immune mediators were quantified. Swabs were collected from the uterine lumen of cattle on day 7 postpartum. Bacteria were cultured and identified and bacterial growth was scored semi-quantitatively. Animals were categorized into high or low recognized uterine pathogen contamination groups based on the number of colonies. Ovarian structures were monitored by daily transrectal ultrasonography and blood samples were collected. In animals with high numbers of uterine pathogens on day 7 postpartum, the diameter of the first postpartum dominant follicle was smaller and plasma oestradiol concentrations were lower. In addition, these animals had smaller corpora lutea, which produced less progesterone. Furthermore, animals with a high day 7 uterine pathogen growth density had higher peripheral concentrations of acute phase proteins. Thus, contamination of the uterus with recognized uterine pathogens is associated with ovarian dysfunction during the postpartum period. Furthermore, infection results in an increase in the production of inflammatory mediators.
Environmental modifications to improve production and fertility. Pages 34–126 in Large Dairy Herd Management
  • A Berman
  • D Wolfenson
Berman, A., and D. Wolfenson. 1992. Environmental modifications to improve production and fertility. Pages 34–126 in Large Dairy Herd Management. H. H. Van Horn and C. J. Wilcox, ed. American Dairy Science Association, Champaign, IL.