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A Shaham-Albalancy, Y Folman, M Kaim, M Rosenberg and D Wolfenson

Low progesterone concentrations during the bovine oestrous cycle induce enhanced responsiveness to oxytocin challenge late in the luteal phase of the same cycle. The delayed effect of low progesterone concentrations during one oestrous cycle on uterine PGF(2alpha) secretion after oxytocin challenge on day 15 or 16 of the subsequent cycle was studied by measuring the concentrations of the major PGF(2alpha) metabolite (13,14-dihydro-15-keto PGF(2alpha); PGFM) in plasma. Two experiments were conducted, differing in the type of progesterone treatment and in the shape of the low progesterone concentration curves. In Expt 1, progesterone supplementation with intravaginal progesterone inserts, with or without an active corpus luteum, was used to obtain high, or low and constant plasma progesterone concentrations, respectively. In Expt 2, untreated cows, representing high progesterone treatment, were compared with cows that had low but increasing plasma progesterone concentrations that were achieved by manipulating endogenous progesterone secretion of the corpus luteum. Neither experiment revealed any differences in plasma progesterone concentrations between the high and low progesterone groups in the subsequent oestrous cycle. In both experiments, both groups had similar basal concentrations of PGFM on day 15 (Expt 1) or 16 (Expt 2) of the subsequent oestrous cycle, 18 days after progesterone treatments had ended. In both experiments, the increases in PGFM concentrations in the low progesterone groups after an oxytocin challenge were markedly higher than in the high progesterone groups. These results indicate that low progesterone concentrations during an oestrous cycle have a delayed stimulatory effect on uterine responsiveness to oxytocin during the late luteal phase of the subsequent cycle. This resulting increase in PGF(2alpha) secretion may interfere with luteal maintenance during the early stages of pregnancy.

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Miriam Rosenberg, Y. Folman, Z. Herz, I. Flamenbaum, A. Berman and M. Kaim

Summary. In a subtropical climate, high milk-yielding dairy cows were kept during the summer under ventilated conditions or untreated; during the winter, cows were kept untreated. The afternoon mean rectal temperature for multiparous cows in the three groups was 39·3, 39·8 and 38·9°C, respectively. Each group was significantly different from the other two (P < 0·05). Plasma LH concentrations measured every 6 h during the oestrous period in 38 'summer' cows were not significantly different for untreated and ventilated animals. Conception rate was higher (P < 0·05) in cows that showed oestrous behaviour before the LH surge reached its peak than in cows in which oestrus coincided with or occurred later than the LH surge. Plasma progesterone levels measured in 62 cows during the oestrous cycle before the first insemination were higher in the winter than in the summer in multiparous, but not in primiparous, cows. Ventilation increased progesterone levels in multiparous and primiparous cows. Plasma oestradiol-17β levels did not differ between groups until 36 h before the onset of oestrus, when they remained at 4·75 pg/ml in winter and summer-ventilated cows but increased to 6·75 pg/ml in summer untreated cows (P < 0·01). Significant negative correlations were found between oestradiol levels observed 12 h before to 12 h after the onset of oestrus and plasma progesterone concentration during both the preceding and the subsequent oestrous cycles.