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J Reprod Dev. 2011 Apr;57(2):242-8. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Endocrine effects of GnRH agonist application to early pregnant gilts.

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Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology, Dummerstorf, Germany.


The hypothesis of the present study was that a GnRH agonist application at early pregnancy would alter the pattern of the key reproductive hormones LH and FSH, and subsequently that of estradiol (E2) and especially progesterone (P4), and improve the conditions for embryo survival in early pregnant gilts. Therefore, the endocrine effects of a GnRH agonist (GnRHa) application to gilts (n=11 GnRHa treated, n=9 saline Controls) were studied in blood samples from the Vena cava caudalis. GnRHa injected on Day 12 after insemination induced elevated (P<0.01) LH and FSH levels for at least 180 min. However, subsequent LH concentrations were not altered up to Day 21 of pregnancy. LH pulse number, estimated in 6-h period samples on Days 13, 15 and 17, was not influenced by treatment and pregnancy. LH pulse amplitude was decreased (P<0.05) on Days 13 to 17 in pregnant gilts of both groups, but not in nonpregnant animals. In pregnant GnRHa-treated gilts, the basal LH level was elevated compared with the Controls (P<0.01). Additionally, differences (P<0.05) in basal LH were present between the pregnant and nonpregnant animals. The P4 and E2 secretion pattern was not affected by GnRHa. P4 concentrations increased (P<0.01) from Day 10 to Day 14 regardless of the treatment. P4 revealed a pulse-like pattern, but without a definite relation to the LH pulse characteristics. Also, pregnancy rate (73 vs. 67%) and the number of fetuses (12.8 ± 2.3 vs. 11.6 ± 2.3) were unaffected in the treated and Control gilts, respectively. The present study did not confirm the initial hypothesis that a GnRHa-mediated LH effect could alter ovarian steroid secretion and favorably support early embryo development and pregnancy outcome.

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