Follicular, hormonal, and pregnancy responses of early postpartum suckled beef cows to GnRH, norgestomet, and prostaglandin F2alpha.
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Cycling (n = 16) and noncycling (n = 24), early postpartum, suckled beef cows of three breeds were assigned randomly to three treatments: 1) 100-microg injection of GnRH plus a 6-mg implant of norgestomet administered on d -7 before 25 mg of PGF2alpha and implant removal on d 0 (GnRH+NORG); 2) 100 microg of GnRH given on d -7 followed by 25 mg of PGF2alpha on d 0 (GnRH); or 3) 2 mL of saline plus a 6-mg implant of norgestomet administered on d -7 followed by 25 mg of PGF2, and implant removal on d 0 (NORG). All cows were given 100 microg of GnRH on d +2 (48 h after PGF2alpha). Blood sera collected daily from d -7 to d +4 were analyzed for progesterone and estradiol-17beta, and ovaries were monitored daily by transrectal ultrasonography to assess changes in ovarian structures. Luteal structures were induced in 75% of noncycling cows in both treatments after GnRH, resulting in elevated (P < .01) progesterone on d 0 for GnRH+NORG-treated cows. Concentrations of estradiol-17beta (P < .01) and LH (P < .05) were greater on d +2 after GnRH for cows previously receiving norgestomet implants. Pregnancy rates after one fixed-time AI at 16 h after GnRH (d +2) were greater (P < .05) in GnRH+NORG (71%) than in GnRH (31%) and NORG (15%) cows. Difference in pregnancy rate was due partly to normal luteal activity after AI in over 87% of GnRH+NORG cows and no incidence of short luteal phases. The GnRH+NORG treatment initially induced ovulation or turnover of the largest follicle, induction of a new follicular wave, followed later by increased concentrations of estradiol-17beta and progesterone. After PGF2alpha, greater GnRH-induced release of LH occurred in GnRH+NORG cows before ovulation, and pregnancy rates were greater after a fixed-time AI.