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Vet J. 2006 May;171(3):500-3. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

Effects of time of progesterone supplementation on embryo development and interferon-tau production in the cow.

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  • 1Division of Animal Physiology, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK.


We have investigated the effects of the timing of progesterone supplementation on early embryo development in mature, non-lactating Holstein-Friesian cows. Animals were inseminated 72 h (day 1) and 96 h following prostaglandin injection and were either left as untreated controls (n=6) or received progesterone supplementation from either days 5 to 9 (early; n=6) or from days 12 to 16 (late; n=6). Daily plasma samples were collected until day 16, when cows were slaughtered and reproductive tracts recovered and flushed to collect embryos and to measure interferon-tau activity. Both early and later progesterone supplementation resulted in marked increases in plasma progesterone (P<0.01). Early, but not late, progesterone supplementation resulted in a fourfold increase in trophoblast length (P<0.01) and a sixfold increase in uterine concentration of interferon-tau (P<0.05). The results demonstrate that progesterone supplementation during the postovulatory rise, but not later in the luteal phase, increases embryo development and interferon-tau production.

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