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Anim Reprod Sci. 2016 Mar;166:22-7. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2015.12.010. Epub 2015 Dec 29.

Relationship between colour flow Doppler sonographic assessment of corpus luteum activity and progesterone concentrations in mares after embryo transfer.

Author information

1
Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Yalelaan 114, 3584 CM, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Electronic address: P.T.Brogan@uu.nl.
2
Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Yalelaan 114, 3584 CM, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
3
Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Yalelaan 114, 3584 CM, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CM, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Section of Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag XO4, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa.

Abstract

Colour-flow Doppler sonography has been described as a means of assessing corpus luteum (CL) function rapidly, because area of luteal blood vessels correlates well with circulating progesterone (P4) concentrations [P4] in oestrous cycling mares. The aim of this study was to assess the relationships between CL size and vascularity, and circulating [P4] during early pregnancy in mares, and to determine whether luteal blood flow was a useful aid for selecting an embryo transfer recipient. Equine embryos (n=48) were recovered 8 days after ovulation and were transferred to available recipient mares as part of a commercial program with the degree of synchrony in timing of recipient ovulation ranging from 1 day before to 4 days after the donor. Immediately prior to embryo transfer (ET), maximum CL cross-section and blood vessel areas were assessed sonographically, and jugular blood was collected to measure plasma [P4]. Sonographic measurements and jugular blood collection were repeated at day 4 after ET for all mares, and again at days 11, 18 and 25 after ET in mares that were pregnant. The number of grey-scale and colour pixels within the CL was subsequently quantified using ImageJ software. The CL blood flow correlated significantly but weakly with plasma [P4] on the day of transfer and on day 4 after ET in all mares, and on days 11 and 25 after ET in pregnant mares (r=0.30-0.36). The CL area and plasma [P4] were also correlated on each day until day 11 after ET (r=0.49-0.60). The CL colour pixel area decreased significantly after day 18, whereas CL area was already decreasing by day 4 after ET. The CL area, area of blood flow, or [P4] was predictive of pregnancy. Findings in the present study suggest that both CL area and blood flow are correlated with circulating [P4] at the time of transfer and in early pregnancy. Evaluation of the CL using B-mode or CF sonography, although practical, provides no improvement in the selection of recipients or prediction of pregnancy outcomes than methods employed currently.

KEYWORDS:

Colour flow Doppler; Embryo transfer; Equine; Mare; Progesterone

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