Targeted progesterone supplementation improves fertility in lactating dairy cows without a corpus luteum at the initiation of the timed artificial insemination protocol

R. S. Bisinotto, E. S. Ribeiro, F. S. Lima, N. Martinez, L. F. Greco, L. F.S.P. Barbosa, P. P. Bueno, L. F.S. Scagion, W. W. Thatcher, J. E.P. Santos

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Abstract

The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of supplemental progesterone on fertility in lactating dairy cows lacking a corpus luteum (CL) at the initiation of the timed artificial insemination (AI) program. Holstein cows were subjected to the 5-d timed AI program (d -8 GnRH, d -3 and -2 PGF, d 0 GnRH and AI). Cows had their ovaries scanned by ultrasonography on d -8 and those bearing a CL were considered to be in diestrus (DI; n=946). Cows that lacked a CL on d -8 were assigned to remain as untreated control (CON; n=234) or receive 2 controlled internal drug release (CIDR) inserts containing progesterone (2CIDR; n=218) from d -8 to -3, as a single insert has been proven insufficient to modulate fertility in cows without CL. Blood was analyzed for progesterone and estradiol concentrations. Pregnancy was diagnosed on d 34 and 62 after AI. Progesterone concentrations during the timed AI program were lowest for CON, intermediate for 2CIDR, and highest for DI. Supplementation increased progesterone concentrations between d -7 and -3 compared with CON (2.65 vs. 0.51ng/mL). Ovulation to the first GnRH was not affected by treatment. However, a greater proportion of CON and 2CIDR cows had a new CL on d -3 compared with DI cows (66.7 vs. 61.9 vs. 52.0%). In cows with a new CL, the diameter of the ovulatory follicle was larger for CON than 2CIDR, and intermediate for DI (18.7 vs. 16.5 vs. 17.7mm). Concentrations of estradiol on d -3 did not differ among treatments; however, DI cows had greater estradiol concentrations at AI compared with CON or 2CIDR cows. Pregnancy per AI was less for CON compared with 2CIDR or DI on d 32 (30.8 vs. 46.8 vs. 49.9%) and 64 (28.6 vs. 43.7 vs. 47.3%), indicating that supplementation with progesterone reestablished fertility in cows lacking a CL on d -8. A greater proportion of nonpregnant CON cows had a short reinsemination interval compared with 2CIDR or DI (11.1 vs. 3.5 vs. 5.7%). Treatment did not affect pregnancy loss between d 34 and 62 of gestation. A single ultrasound exam was effective in identifying a low-fertility cohort of cows based on the absence of CL at the first GnRH injection of the timed AI protocol. Progesterone supplementation with 2 CIDR inserts increased progesterone in plasma to 2.65ng/mL and restored fertility in lactating dairy cows lacking a CL at the initiation of the timed AI program similar to that of cows in diestrus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2214-2225
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume96
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Anovular cow
  • Dairy cow
  • Progesterone
  • Reproduction

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    Bisinotto, R. S., Ribeiro, E. S., Lima, F. S., Martinez, N., Greco, L. F., Barbosa, L. F. S. P., Bueno, P. P., Scagion, L. F. S., Thatcher, W. W., & Santos, J. E. P. (2013). Targeted progesterone supplementation improves fertility in lactating dairy cows without a corpus luteum at the initiation of the timed artificial insemination protocol. Journal of Dairy Science, 96(4), 2214-2225. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2012-6038