The induction of optimal synchrony of estrus in cows requires synchronization of luteolysis and of the waves of follicular growth (follicular waves). The aim of this study was to determine whether hormonal treatments aimed at synchronizing follicular waves improved the synchrony of prostaglandin (PG)-induced estrus. In Experiment 1, cows were treated on Day 5 of the estrous cycle with saline in Group 1 (n=25; 16 ml, iv, 12 h apart), with hCG in Group 2 (n=27; 3000 IU, iv), or with hCG and bovine follicular fluid (bFF) in Group 3 (n=21; 16 ml, iv, 12 h apart). On Day 12, all cows were treated with prostaglandin (PG; 500 μg cloprostenol, im). In Experiment 2, cows were treated on Day 5 of the estrous cycle with saline (3 ml, im) in Group 1 (n=22) or with hCG (3000 IU, iv) in Group 2 (n=20) and Group 3 (n=22). On Day 12, the cows were treated with PG (500 μg in Groups 1 and 2; 1000 μg in Group 3). Blood samples for progesterone (P4) determination were collected on Day 12 (Experiment 1) or on Days 12 and 14 (Experiment 2). Cows were fitted with heat mount detectors and observed twice a day for signs of estrus. Four cows in Experiment 1 (1 cow each from Groups 1 and 2; 2 cows from Group 3) had plasma P4 concentrations below 1 ng/ml on Day 12 and were excluded from the analyses. In Experiment 1, cows treated with hCG or hCG+bFF had a more variable (P=0.0007, P=0.0005) day of occurrence of and a longer interval to estrus (5.9±0.7 d, P=0.003 and 6.2±0.8 d, P=0.005) than saline- treated cows (3.4±0.4 d); The plasma P4 concentrations on Day 12 were higher (P<0.0001) in hCG- and in hCG+bFF-treated cows than in saline-treated cows (9.4±0.75 and 8.5±0.75 vs 4.1±0.27 ng/ml), but there was no correlation (P>0.05) between plasma P4 concentrations and the interval to estrus. In Experiment 2, cows treated with hCG/500PG and hCG/1000PG had a more variable (P=0.0007, P=0.002) day of occurrence of and a longer interval to estrus (4.2±0.4 d, P=0.04; 4.1±0.4 d, P=0.03) than saline/500PG-treated cows (3.2±0.1 d). The concentrations of plasma P4 on Days 12 and 14 of both hCG/500PG- and hCG/1000PG-treated cows were higher (P<0.05) than in saline/500PG-treated cows (7.3±0.64, 0.7±0.08 and 7.7±0.49, 0.7±0.06 vs 5.3±0.37, 0.5±0.03 ng/ml). The concentrations of plasma P4 on Days 12 or 14 and the interval to estrus were not correlated (P>0.05) in any treatment group. The concentrations of plasma P4 on Days 12 and 14 of hCG/500PG- or hCG/1000PG-treated cows were correlated (r=0.65, P<0.05; r=0.50, P<0.05). This study indicated that treatment of cows with hCG on Day 5 of the estrous cycle reduced the synchrony of PG-induced estrus and that this reduction was not due to the failure of luteal regression.
- Estrus synchronization