This study examined the effects of administering progesterone and oestradiol benzoate (ODB) during mid-dioestrus, on ovarian follicular dynamics in cattle. Twelve cycling cows were used in a 4 x 4 latin square design, with the 4 treatments being initiated on Day 13 of the cycle (oestrus = Day 0) and comprising intravaginal insertion for 5 days of: (i) a progesterone releasing device (CIDR; 'P4'); (ii) a CIDR device with a gelatin capsule containing 10 mg ODB and 1 g lactose (CIDIROL; 'P4/ODB') attached; (iii) a placebo CIDR device with the 10 mg ODB capsule (ODB); and, (iv) a placebo CIDR device alone (CTRL). The ovaries of each cow were examined daily by transrectal ultrasonography from Day 7 of the cycle until subsequent ovulation. Blood samples were collected daily from Day 11, and at intervals of 2-4 h during the 24 h period either side of treatment initiation. The second dominant follicle (DF2) emerged on Day 10.7 +/- 0.2 (mean +/- SEM), and was 8.5 +/- 0.2 mm in diameter by Day 13. The DF2 developed through to ovulation (2-wave cycles) in half of the animals in the CTRL group; while in the other half of cases, the ovulatory follicle originated from the third follicle wave that emerged on Day 17.2 +/- 0.4. Administration of a CIDR device alone (P4 group) did not alter the 1:1 ratio of 2 and 3-wave cycles, but the third dominant follicle (DF3) in those cows with 3-wave cycles emerged earlier on Day 15.6 +/- 0.2. In contrast, the DF2 of every animal in the ODB and P4/ODB groups became atretic and was replaced by a DF3 which emerged 4.0 +/- 0.3 days later. The effects of ODB on luteal function were limited to an earlier decline in plasma progesterone concentrations from 2 to 4 days after device insertion and a reduction in diameter of the corpus luteum when administered concurrently with progesterone. Intravaginal administration of 10 mg ODB on Day 13 of the oestrous cycle, with or without progesterone, was effective in promoting follicle wave turnover. In the absence of ODB, progesterone administration alone (P4 group) did not alter the ratio of animals with 2 or 3-wave cycles from that observed in animals in the CTRL group, but did advance the timing of subsequent follicle wave emergence in those animals with 3-wave cycles.
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