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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: REDUCING COST OF EFFICIENT BEEF PRODUCTION

Location: Livestock and Range Research Laboratory (LARRL)

Title: Factors affecting pre-ovulatory follicle diameter and ovulation rate to GnRH in postpartum beef cows Part I: Cycling cows

Authors
item Atkins, J -
item Smith, M -
item Wells, K -
item GEARY, THOMAS

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2010
Publication Date: March 12, 2010
Citation: Atkins, J.A., Smith, M.F., Wells, K.J., Geary, T.W. 2010. Factors affecting pre-ovulatory follicle diameter and ovulation rate to GnRH in postpartum beef cows. Part I: Cycling cows. Journal of Animal Science. 88:2300-2310.

Interpretive Summary: Ovulation of a small and presumably physiologically immature dominant follicle reduced pregnancy rates and increased late embryonic/fetal loss in beef and dairy cattle. Factors affecting ovulatory follicle size, or the mechanisms by which ovulatory follicle size affect fertility have not been determined. Objectives of this experiment were to examine the role of day of the estrous cycle at initiation of treatment on ovulation following the first GnRH injection (GnRH1) and associated effects on growth rate and final size of the ovulatory follicle at the second GnRH injection (GnRH2), serum concentrations of estradiol at GnRH2, and subsequent luteal concentrations of progesterone so that we could better understand factors affecting fertility in suckled beef cows. Estrous cycles of cows were manipulated to be at one of five specific days of the cycle (Day 2, 5, 9, 13, and 18, d 0 = estrus; n = 12 per treatment group) at the start of the CO-Synch protocol (GnRH1 on d -9, PGF2a on d -2, and GnRH2 on d 0). Day of the estrous cycle at GnRH1 did not affect the size of the preovulatory follicle or the proportion of cows ovulating at GnRH2 (P = 0.65 and 0.21, respectively). When all cows were included in the analysis, cows that ovulated after GnRH1 had similar follicle size at GnRH2 compared to cows that did not ovulate after GnRH1 (11.4 and 10.4 mm, respectively; P = 0.23). When only cows that could ovulate after GnRH1 (excluding Day 2 cows) were included in the analysis, cows that ovulated to GnRH1 had a larger follicle at GnRH2 than cows that did not ovulate after GnRH1 (11.4 and 9.5 mm, respectively; P = 0.04). Follicle growth from d -5 to d 0 (d 0 = GnRH2) was similar between cows that ovulated after GnRH1 and cows that did not (1.01 vs. 0.89 mm/d, respectively; P = 0.75). There was a tendency for faster follicle growth rate in cows that ovulated a large follicle (> 11 mm) compared to cows that ovulated a small follicle (= 11 mm; 1.01 vs. 0.86 mm/d, respectively; P = 0.07). Serum concentrations of estradiol at GnRH2 and progesterone following ovulation were reduced in cows that ovulated small follicles compared to cows that ovulated large follicles (P = 0.006 and < 0.05, respectively). In summary, day of the estrous cycle at initiation of synchronization did not affect ovulatory follicle size, but follicle growth rates affected the size of the follicle at GnRH2. Cows that ovulated a small follicle had reduced serum concentrations of estradiol at GnRH2 and progesterone following ovulation. The mechanism by which follicle growth rate and ultimately ovulatory follicle size affect fertility in estrous cycling beef cows is still unknown.

Technical Abstract: Cows induced to ovulate small dominant follicles were reported to have reduced pregnancy rates compared to cows that ovulated large follicles. The reason for the presence of small dominant follicles at the time of GnRH-induced ovulation in timed AI protocols is unknown. Objectives of this experiment were to examine the role of day of the estrous cycle at initiation of treatment on ovulation following the first GnRH injection (GnRH1) and associated effects on growth rate and final size of the ovulatory follicle at the second GnRH injection (GnRH2), serum concentrations of estradiol at GnRH2, and subsequent luteal concentrations of progesterone in suckled beef cows. Estrous cycles of cows were manipulated to be at one of five specific days of the cycle (Day 2, 5, 9, 13, and 18, d 0 = estrus; n = 12 per treatment group) at the start of the CO-Synch protocol (GnRH1 on d -9, PGF2a on d -2, and GnRH2 on d 0). Day of the estrous cycle at GnRH1 did not affect the size of the preovulatory follicle or the proportion of cows ovulating at GnRH2 (P = 0.65 and 0.21, respectively). When all cows were included in the analysis, cows that ovulated after GnRH1 had similar follicle size at GnRH2 compared to cows that did not ovulate after GnRH1 (11.4 and 10.4 mm, respectively; P = 0.23). When only cows that could ovulate after GnRH1 (excluding Day 2 cows) were included in the analysis, cows that ovulated to GnRH1 had a larger follicle at GnRH2 than cows that did not ovulate after GnRH1 (11.4 and 9.5 mm, respectively; P = 0.04). Follicle growth from d -5 to d 0 (d 0 = GnRH2) was similar between cows that ovulated after GnRH1 and cows that did not (1.01 vs. 0.89 mm/d, respectively; P = 0.75). There was a tendency for faster follicle growth rate in cows that ovulated a large follicle (> 11 mm) compared to cows that ovulated a small follicle (<or= 11 mm; 1.01 vs. 0.86 mm/d, respectively; P = 0.07). Serum concentrations of estradiol at GnRH2 and progesterone following ovulation were reduced in cows that ovulated small follicles compared to cows that ovulated large follicles (P = 0.006 and < 0.05, respectively). In summary, day of the estrous cycle at initiation of synchronization did not affect ovulatory follicle size, but follicle growth rates affected the size of the follicle at GnRH2. Cows that ovulated a small follicle had reduced serum concentrations of estradiol at GnRH2 and progesterone following ovulation.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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