Authors:Adam Šuluburić, Svetlana Milanović, Sanja Vranješ-Đurić, Ivan B. Jovanović, Tomislav Barna, Milica Stojić, Natalija Fratrić, Ottó Szenci and Dragan Gvozdić
Early embryonic development may be negatively affected by insufficient progesterone (P4) production. Therefore, the aim of our study was to increase P4 by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and/or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatments after inducing oestrus by prostaglandin (PG) treatment. Lactating Simmental dairy cows (n = 110), between 1 to 5 lactations, with an average milk production of 6,500 1/305 days, at 40–80 days postpartum were used and grouped as follows: (1) PG + GnRH treatment at AI (GnRH group), (2) PG + hCG treatment at day 7 after AI (hCG group), (3) PG + GnRH at AI + hCG treatment at day 7 after AI (GnRH/hCG group), and (4) spontaneous oestrus (C: control group). All animals were double inseminated (at the time of oestrus detection and 12 ± 2 h thereafter). Blood serum and milk samples were collected at the day of observed oestrus (day 0), and 14, 21 and 28 days after AI. Serum P4 was determined using a commercial radioimmunoassay (RIA) test (INEP, Zemun), and milk P4 was determined using enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) test (NIV Novi Sad). Pregnancy status was confirmed by ultrasonography between days 28 and 35 after AI. Differences of serum or milk P4 medians, pregnancy (and calving) rate were determined using Dunn’s Multiple Comparison Tests and Z test, respectively. Serum P4 medians were significantly higher at days 14, 21 and 28 after AI in the hCG-treated animals, indicating increased luteal activity, with a similar tendency in whole milk P4 values. Treatment with hCG during the early luteal phase significantly contributed to the maintenance of gestation at days 28–35 after AI, and also increased the calving rate in Simmental dairy cows.