Sire contribution to pregnancy loss and pregnancy-associated glycoprotein production in Nelore cows.
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Pregnancy loss is a major contributing factor to reproductive inefficiency in both the beef and dairy industries. Sires can have a significant influence on the amount of pregnancy loss; however, this relationship is still poorly investigated. The primary objective of this study was to identify sires associated with high or low incidence of pregnancy loss (between d 30 and 100 of gestation) and investigate their effect on concentration of circulating pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs). Postpartum multiparous Nelore cows were inseminated artificially at a fixed time (FTAI, d 0) after synchronization of ovulation. A total of 736 cows were assigned randomly to be inseminated with semen from either of 6 Angus sires, whereas a separate subset of 492 cows were inseminated randomly with semen from either of 3 Nelore (n = 235) or either of 2 Angus sires (n = 257). Estrus expression was evaluated on d 0 using Estrotect Heat Detector patches. Blood samples were collected on d 30 of gestation for quantification of PAGs and pregnancy diagnosis was performed by ultrasound on d 30 and 100 after FTAI. Cows diagnosed pregnant at the first examination but not pregnant at the second were defined to have pregnancy loss. Overall pregnancy rate at d 30 was 54% (660/1,228) and pregnancy loss was 6.21% (41/660). Cows receiving semen from Nelore sires had greater (P < 0.001) pregnancy rate, greater (P = 0.014) pregnancy loss, and lesser (P = 0.002) PAG concentrations at d 30 of gestation compared with cows receiving Angus semen. Circulating PAG concentrations were lower (P = 0.008) in cows that had pregnancy loss (9.76 0.25 vs. 7.41 1.02 ng/mL). Angus sires were retrospectively classified according to percentage of pregnancy loss as either high pregnancy loss (mean of 7.25% or 67% of total) or low pregnancy loss (mean of 3.93% or 33% of total). Cows receiving semen from high pregnancy loss sires had 1.9 times greater (P = 0.123) rate of pregnancy loss and had lower (P = 0.059) PAG concentrations at d 30 of gestation compared with cows mated to low pregnancy loss sires. In summary, PAG concentrations reflected probability of pregnancy maintenance and were influenced by both sire and sire breed used at FTAI. Variation in the incidence of pregnancy loss was detected among sires that could not be predicted with standard semen fertility evaluations. Exploring the relationship of sire and PAG production might be promising to improve sire selection with regard to pregnancy loss.