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J Reprod Fertil. 1991 Jan;91(1):347-56.

Effect of injected bovine interferon-alpha I1 on estrous cycle length and pregnancy success in sheep.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.

Abstract

In Exp. 1 twice daily i.m. injections of 2 mg recombinant bovine IFN-alpha I1 (rboIFN-alpha I1) (N = 24) or placebo (N = 25) were administered to ewes from Day 12 to Day 16 during a normal oestrous cycle. Treatment did not increase (P greater than 0.10) oestrous cycle length (20.7 +/- 1.2 versus 18.5 +/- 1.4 days). In Exp. 2, ewes were injected twice daily with 2 mg IFN (N = 34) or placebo (N = 36) from Days 11 to 18 after natural mating. The rboIFN-alpha I1 significantly (P = 0.05) improved pregnancy rate (79% versus 58%) as determined by a failure of ewes to return to oestrus within 50 days. The number of ewes that lambed was greatest in the rboIFN-alpha I1-treatment group (71% versus 50%; P = 0.07), and no teratogenic effects were observed in the young born to IFN-treated ewes. The study was repeated a second year with a more fecund group of ewes (Exp. 3). More (P = 0.08) ewes injected with rboIFN-alpha I1 (58/65) than placebo-treated ewes (48/61) were judged pregnant by ultrasound. Again more ewes lambed (55 versus 45) and more lambs were born (98 versus 80) from the rboIFN-alpha I1-treated group. Combining the data from both studies revealed a significant (P = 0.01) effect of treatment. The amount of antiviral activity in jugular vein blood of ewes injected with rboIFN-alpha I1 (2 mg) was determined over time in Exp. 4. Activity rose to a maximum (approximately 450 IRU/ml) within 1-2 h and declined by over 75% in 24 h. Single injections of 1, 2 and 5 mg in buffer or 2 mg emulsified in sesame oil all gave similar profiles of antiviral activity in jugular blood over a 48-h period. In Exp. 5, antiviral activity was measured in uterine vein, ovarian artery and jugular vein serum of untreated pregnant (N = 7) and non-pregnant (N = 11) ewes at Day 15 after mating. Activity was detected in the uterine vein (58 +/- 19 IRU/ml) of all pregnant ewes. The observations in Exps 1-5 are consistent with a role for conceptus-derived IFN-alpha in maternal recognition of pregnancy and suggest that supplemental IFN-alpha might be useful in improving pregnancy success in sheep.

PMID:
1995858
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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