Human chorionic gonadotropin influences ovarian function and concentrations of progesterone in prepubertal Angus heifers.
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The effects of administering hCG on subsequent ovarian structure dynamics and concentrations of progesterone in prepubertal heifers were evaluated. Forty-seven purebred Angus heifers were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 treatments: 1) 100 g of injection of GnRH (GnRH; n = 16); 2) 1,000 IU injection of hCG (H1000; n = 16); and 3) 500-IU injection of hCG (H500; n = 15). From d -1 to 9 relative to treatment (d 0), daily blood samples were collected to determine concentrations of progesterone and ovaries of each heifer were examined daily by transrectal ultrasonography. Diameter of all follicles 4 mm and all luteal structures were mapped. Disappearance of the largest follicle occurred within 2 d in a greater percentage (P < 0.05) of all heifers in the H1000 treatment (87.5%) compared with GnRH heifers (43.8%), whereas H500 heifers (73.7%) were intermediate. A new luteal structure formed after follicle disappearance in a greater (P < 0.05) percentage of all heifers treated with H1000 (87.5%) and H500 (73.7%) heifers compared with that in GnRH-treated heifers (18.8%). The largest follicle present in ovaries of H1000 and H500 heifers was smaller (P < 0.05) than that of GnRH heifers from d 2 to 5. Heifers treated with H1000 (1.72 0.19 ng/mL) had peak concentrations of progesterone on d 6 that were greater (P < 0.05) than H500 heifers (1.34 0.20 ng/mL), which were greater than heifers treated with GnRH (0.31 0.19 ng/mL). The mean volume of luteal tissue was greater (P < 0.05) in H1000 heifers (1.54 0.15 cm(3)) than in H500 heifers (1.15 0.15 cm(3)), which was greater (P < 0.05) than in heifers treated with GnRH (0.23 0.15 cm(3)). We conclude that hCG was more effective than GnRH in its ability to cause disappearance of the largest follicle, increase volume of luteal tissue in the subsequent developing luteal structures, and increase concentrations of progesterone in prepubertal heifers. In addition, hCG seems to be more effective when administered at 1,000 IU than at 500 IU.