The aim was to examine the effect of a single intramuscular (i.m.) injection of equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) on Day 3 after oestrus on corpus luteum (CL) development, circulating progesterone and conceptus development in cross-bred beef heifers. In Experiment 1, heifers received: (1) saline, or a single i.m. injection of eCG on Day 3 at (2) 250IU (3) 500IU (4) 750IU or (5) 1000IU. Administration of eCG resulted in increased luteal tissue area and progesterone and oestradiol concentrations compared with controls. In Experiment 2, heifers received (1) a progesterone-releasing intravaginal device (PRID Delta) from Day 3 to 5 or (2) a PRID Delta from Day 3 to 5 plus a single injection of 750IU eCG on Day 3. In vitro-produced blastocysts (n=10 per recipient) were transferred on Day 7 and heifers were slaughtered on Day 14 to assess conceptus development. Administration of eCG reduced the number of short cycles (6.3% vs 31.3%) and increased mean luteal tissue weight (P=0.02). Insertion of a PRID Delta on Day 3 resulted in an elevation (P<0.05) in serum progesterone until removal on Day 5. Administration of eCG at the time of PRID Delta insertion resulted in higher progesterone levels (P<0.05) from Day 10 onwards. Conceptus dimensions were not affected. In conclusion, a single injection of eCG on Day 3 increased CL size and progesterone concentrations and, when given in conjunction with a progesterone-releasing device, appeared to reduce the number of short cycles, presumably due to its luteotrophic nature. The implications of the elevated oestradiol concentrations for embryo quality require further study.
University College Dublin ->