Effect of an orally active progestin on follicular dynamics in cycling and anestrous postpartum beef cows.
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Although treatment of cycling cows with low concentrations of melengesterol acetate (MGA) results in formation of persistent follicles, in the absence of corpora lutea, it is not known whether persistent follicles form in anestrous cows in response to a similar treatment. The objective of this experiment was to determine the effect of long-term MGA treatment (14 d) on follicular dynamics and the secretion of estradiol in anestrous postpartum beef cows. Treatment groups (replicated over 2 yr) included the following: anestrous control (AC; n = 11), anestrous MGA (AM; n = 16), and cycling MGA (CM; positive control; n = 16). Angus-crossbred cows were assigned to treatment by age, cow body condition, and days postpartum. Cows were fed carrier (AC group) or 0.5 mg MGA x animal(-1) x d(-1) (AM and CM groups) for 14 d beginning approximately 38 d postpartum. Cows allotted to the CM group were injected with PGF2alpha, on the first day of MGA treatment to induce luteolysis. The preceding treatment (CM) results in formation of persistent follicles and secretion of elevated concentrations of estradiol. Ovaries of each cow were examined daily by transrectal ultrasonography beginning 5 to 7 d preceding the initiation of feeding MGA or carrier and continued until ovulation or 7 d following MGA feeding. There was no difference among groups in the stage of follicular wave or diameter of the largest follicle at the start of carrier or MGA feeding. The length of the follicular wave present at the start of MGA feeding was greater (P < 0.01) for cows in the CM (14.5 d, yr 1; 18.3 d, yr 2) group compared to the AM (9.4 d, yr 1; 7.9 d, yr 2) or AC (9.7 d, yr 1; 10.7 d, yr 2) groups. Maximum follicular diameter over both years was greater (P < 0.01) for the CM (20.6 mm) group than the AM (15.1 mm) or AC (16.4 mm) groups. Circulating concentrations of estradiol were also increased (P < 0.05) in the CM group compared to the AM or AC groups. However, MGA appeared to have no effect (P > 0.05) on the number of follicles recruited, growth rate of the dominant follicle during the first 6 d oftreatment, or growth rate to the maximum follicular diameter. In summary, MGA treatment did not increase the duration ot the follicular wave, maximum follicular diameter, or secretion of estradiol in anestrous postpartum cows, nor did MGA affect the number of follicles recruited or growth rate of dominant follicles in cycling or anestrous animals.