Influence of the embryo on intrauterine migration in sheep.

K. P. Nephew, S. Xie, D. M. Broermann-Ridder, K. E. McClure, W. F. Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Mechanisms of intrauterine migration were examined in 55 ewes. In the first experiment, corpora lutea were removed from unilaterally ovariectomized ewes on d 4 (d 0 = estrus) and pregnancy was maintained by giving exogenous progesterone. In Exp. 2, the reproductive tract was altered surgically such that embryos initially entered the uterine horn contralateral to the site of ovulation. In Exp. 3, ewes received beads of silastic polydimethylsiloxane that released either cholesterol or estradiol-17 beta in an attempt to mimic embryonic synthesis of estradiol. In the fourth experiment, unilaterally ovariectomized ewes were superovulated and spacing of embryos within the uterus was then examined. In all experiments, ewes were slaughtered on d 15 and recovery of embryos or beads from each uterine horn indicated that migration had occurred. All ewes in Exp. 1 and 2 that had two conceptuses experienced embryonic migration. Beads impregnated with estradiol migrated farther (P less than .01) than cholesterol-containing beads (27.6 +/- 4.3 vs 12.5 +/- 1.6 cm, respectively). In Exp. 4, only one conceptus had migrated into the contralateral horn in all ewes. These results demonstrated that 1) embryonic migration was not affected by local vs systemic exposure to progesterone, 2) embryos migrated into the unoccupied horn, regardless of the initial horn of entry, 3) estradiol may stimulate embryonic migration, and 4) conceptuses were not equally distributed between horns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1911-1915
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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