Effects of equine chorionic gonadotropin on follicle development and pregnancy rates in suckled beef cows with or without calf removal.
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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of eCG, temporary 72-h calf removal (CR), or both on dominant follicle (DF) diameter and pregnancy rates (PR) in suckled beef cows. For Exp. 1, we hypothesized that CR, eCG, or both at PGF2 administration concomitant with synchronization of ovulation protocol would increase DF diameter and alter patterns of LH, estradiol (E), and progesterone (P4) secretion. Thirty-five multiparous, suckled crossbred beef cows were assigned randomly to a 2 2 factorial arrangement of 4 treatments: 1) cows received 100 g GnRH and a controlled internal drug release (CIDR) insert containing 1.38 g of P4 (d -7) followed in 7 d by 25 mg PGF(2) and CIDR removal (d 0) followed in 72 h by GnRH and fixed-time AI (d 3; Control; n = 9); 2) similar to control, but calves were removed from their dams for 72 h between d 0 and 3 (COCR; n = 9); 3) similar to control, but cows received 400 IU eCG on d 0 (COeCG; n = 9); and 4) similar to COCR, but cows received 400 IU eCG on d 0 (eCGCR; n = 8). Blood sample collection and ovary scans were performed on d -14, -7, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10. Pregnancy rate, ovulation response by d 4, and peak concentrations of LH before 72 h after PGF(2) were greater (P < 0.05) for cows exposed to CR (COCR and eCGCR) than for cows not exposed to CR (Control and COeCG). Follicle diameter on d 3 was greater (P = 0.02) for cows receiving eCG (COeCG and COeCG; 14.9 0.5 mm) than for cows receiving no eCG (Control and COCR; 13.1 0.5 mm). Concentrations of E were greater (P < 0.05) at 32 h for COCR (8.2 1.0 pg/mL) and eCGCR (8.5 0.9 pg/mL) than in Control (4.9 1.2 pg/mL) and COeCG (4.6 1.1 pg/mL) and at 44 h after PGF(2) for eCGCR (11.7 1.6 pg/mL) compared with Control (6.9 1.7 pg/mL), COCR (7.1 1.5 pg/mL), and COeCG (7.5 1.7 pg/mL). In Exp. 2, we determined whether administration of 200 IU eCG improved PR in suckled beef cows. The Control (n = 261) and COeCG (n = 252) treatments were similar to those previously described in Exp. 1; however, the interval from PGF(2) to fixed-time AI was 66 h and 200 IU of eCG were administered to the COeCG group. Pregnancy rates did not differ (P > 0.10) between COeCG (43%) and Control (50%). We conclude that eCG increased DF diameter and CR resulted in a greater percentage of cows experiencing LH peak before 72 h after PGF(2) and ovulation response; however, eCG failed to improve PR to timed AI.