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L. E. EDQVIST and A. M. LAMM

An adaptation of the technique described by Johansson (1969), whereby progesterone was measured by a rapid competitive protein binding technique, has been used to determine the progesterone levels in the peripheral plasma of the cow (Edqvist, Ekman, Gustafsson & Åström, 1970). The purpose of this paper is to report the usefulness of the same technique for the measurement of progesterone levels in the peripheral blood plasma of the sow during the oestrus cycle.

Two sows of the Swedish Landrace Breed, fed on a commercial pig diet with unlimited water supply, were used. Sexual receptivity was checked twice a day with a boar. The first day of receptivity was considered to be the first day of the oestrous cycle.

About 1 ml of blood was collected daily from an ear vein into

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E. Ropstad, M. Forsberg, J. E. Sire, H. Kindahl, T. Nilsen, Ø. Pedersen and L-E. Edqvist

Blood samples were collected from eleven 1.5 year old female reindeer three times a week from September 1992 until February 1993 and daily in October and November 1992. Blood samples were collected every third hour for a period of three weeks from two females that showed regular oestrous cycles. Plasma progesterone, oestradiol, LH and 15-ketodihydro-PGF were analysed to characterize variations in ovarian function. Reindeer are seasonally polyoestrous. Average duration of oestrous cycles was 19.4 days (range: 13–33 days). Short periods of high progesterone concentrations (4–8 days duration) occurred in five animals before the onset of regular oestrous cycles. The first regular cycle had a significantly longer luteal phase than did the following cycles. During luteolysis 15-ketodihydro-PGF was released in a pulsatile pattern. Maximal oestradiol concentrations preceded preovulatory LH peaks by about 3 h in the two frequently sampled animals. The duration of LH surges was 12 and 15 h, respectively.