Effects of administration of human chorionic gonadotropin or progesterone before maternal recognition of pregnancy on blastocyst development and pregnancy in sheep.

K. P. Nephew, H. Cárdenas, K. E. McClure, T. L. Ott, F. W. Bazer, W. F. Pope

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A series of four experiments with 258 ewes was conducted to determine whether blastocyst size could be altered before normal luteolysis and, if so, how this affected fertility. In Exp. 1 and 2, nonmated and mated ewes, respectively, were treated with hCG (100 IU), progesterone (12 mg), or vehicle on d 11.5 (d 0 = onset of estrus). In Exp. 3 and 4, field trials were conducted to compare the effects of either hCG or progesterone treatment on d 11.5 on subsequent pregnancy rates. In Exp. 1, hCG transiently increased (P < .01) concentrations of progesterone and estradiol in plasma, whereas progesterone treatment increased only plasma progesterone. Neither hCG nor progesterone affected the duration of the estrous cycle. In Exp. 2, d-13 blastocysts were longer (3.5 +/- 1.6 vs .8 +/- .5 cm; Mean +/- SE; P < .05), and concentrations of protein and interferon tau (IFN tau) in uterine flushings were greater (10.7 vs 1.2 micrograms; P < .05) in hCG than in vehicle-treated ewes. Progesterone treatment did not affect blastocyst development. In Exp. 3, pregnancy rates tended to be greater (P < .10) in ewes given hCG than in those given vehicle (44/47; 94% vs 40/48; 83%); however, administration of progesterone in Exp. 4 had no effect on pregnancy rates (P < .14; 41/45; 91% vs 37/46; 80%; control ewes). These results indicate that treatment with hCG on d 11.5 stimulated uterine secretions and conceptus growth sufficiently to influence pregnancy rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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