Circulating concentrations of bovine pregnancy-associated glycoproteins and late embryonic mortality in lactating dairy herds
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The objectives of these experiments were as follows: (1) to determine the association between circulating concentrations of pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAG) and late embryonic mortality (EM) in lactating dairy cattle following fixed-time artificial insemination (TAI) on d 0 or timed embryo transfer (TET) on d 7, (2) to identify a circulating concentration of PAG on d 31 below which late EM would be likely to occur, and (3) to identify when during gestation (d 31-59) late EM is occurring. Cows were diagnosed pregnant on d 31 of gestation based on presence of a fetal heartbeat and reconfirmed to be pregnant on d 59 of gestation. Late EM occurred when a cow had a viable embryo on d 31 of gestation but not on d 59 following TAI or TET. Only pregnant cows on d 31 were included in the analysis (TAI-maintained, n=413; TAI-EM, n=77; TET-maintained, n=238; TET-EM, n=47). Cows that were pregnant at d 31 of gestation and maintained the pregnancy until d 59 had significantly higher circulating concentrations of PAG at d 31 of gestation compared with cows that experienced late EM between d 31 and 59 of gestation in both TAI and TET. To conduct a more stringent test of the effectiveness of a single circulating PAG concentration (d 31) to predict EM, a receiver-operating characteristic curve was generated to identify a PAG concentration on d 31 that would predict EM with ≥95% accuracy in cows that received TAI or TET. Based on positive and negative predicative value analysis, a circulating concentration of PAG below 1.4 ng/mL (TAI; minimal detectable level 0.28 ng/mL) and 1.85 ng/mL (TET) was 95% accurate in predicting EM (between d 31 and 59) at d 31 of gestation, respectively. Following TET, embryonic loss was tracked by Doppler ultrasound, progesterone, and PAG from d 24 to 59 of gestation, with more than 50% of the loss occurring between d 31 and 38 of gestation. In summary, circulating concentrations of PAG on d 31 of gestation may provide a good marker for predicting EM between d 31 and 59 of gestation, and the data suggest that this model could help predict which cows will undergo late EM.
author list (cited authors)
Pohler, K. G., Pereira, M., Lopes, F. R., Lawrence, J. C., Keisler, D. H., Smith, M. F., Vasconcelos, J., & Green, J. A.