Objectives were to determine the effects of GnRH at the initiation of the 5-d timed artificial insemination (AI) program combined with 2 injections of PGF2α on ovarian responses and pregnancy per AI (P/AI) in dairy heifers, and the role of progesterone concentrations on LH release and ovulation in response to GnRH. In study 1, heifers received a controlled internal drug release (CIDR) insert containing 1.38g of progesterone on d 0, an injection of 25 mg of PGF2α and CIDR removal on d 5, and an injection of 100μg GnRH concurrently with AI on d 8. Heifers were assigned to receive no additional treatment (control; n=559) or an injection of GnRH on d 0 and a second injection of PGF2α on d 6 (G2P; n=547). In study 2, all heifers were treated as described for the control in study 1, and were allocated to receive no additional treatment (control; n=723), an injection of PGF2α on d 6 (NG2P; n=703), or an injection of GnRH on d 0 and an injection of PGF2α on d 6 (G2P; n=718). In study 3, heifers received a CIDR on d 7 after ovulation and were assigned randomly to a low-progesterone (LP; n=6) treatment in which 2 injections of 25 mg of PGF2α each were administered 12h apart, on d 7 and 7.5 after ovulation, or to a high-progesterone (HP; n=12) treatment in which no PGF2α was administered. On d 8, heifers received 100μg of GnRH and blood was sampled at every 15min from -30 to 180min relative to the GnRH for assessment of LH concentrations. Additionally, 94 heifers were assigned to LP or HP and ovulation in response to GnRH was evaluated. In study 1, P/AI was greater for G2P than for the control on d 32 (59.4 vs. 53.5%) and 60 after AI (56.6 vs. 51.3%). In study 2, administration of GnRH on d 0 increased the proportion of heifers with a new corpus luteum on d 5 (control=21.9 vs. NG2P=20.1 vs. G2P=34.4%). Administration of a second PGF2α increased the proportion of heifers with progesterone <0.5 ng/mL at AI (control=83.1 vs. NG2P=93.0 and G2P=87.2%). Pregnancy per AI was greater for G2P than for control and NG2P on d 32 (control=52.9 vs. NG2P=55.0 vs. G2P=61.7%) and 60 (control=49.0 vs. NG2P=51.6 vs. G2P=59.1%). In study 3, HP attenuated LH release and reduced ovulation (19.0 vs. 48.4%) in response to GnRH compared with LP. Combining GnRH and 2 doses of PGF2α in the 5-d timed AI protocol improved follicle turnover, luteolysis, and P/AI in heifers. Elevated concentrations of progesterone suppressed LH release and are linked with the low ovulatory response to the initial GnRH treatment of the protocol.
- 5-d timed artificial insemination
- Dairy heifer