Progesterone (P4), luteinizing hormone (LH) levels and ovarian activity in postpartum Santa Inês ewes subject to a male effect
- 1Laboratório de Biotécnicas Aplicadas à Reprodução, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brasil
- 2Faculty of Land and Food Systems. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
- 3Laboratório Nordeste In Vitro, Maceió, AL, Brasil
Abstract. This study aimed to establish P4 and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels and ovarian activity as approaches to monitor the cyclicity of ewes under postpartum anestrus after the male effect approach. Santa Inês females (n = 66) were evenly distributed into experimental groups where they were brought into contact with an intact male during the postpartum period of 35 to 40 days (T1) and 55 and 60 days postpartum (T2). Ewes were isolated from males for 30 days before the onset of the experiment. Estrus events were detected in 93.30 % (T1) and 100 % (T2) of females. Mean P4 concentrations (η g mL−1) before and after mating were 0.53 ± 0.17 and 4.55 ± 0.24 (T1) and 0.73 ± 0.06 and 4.90 ± 0.11 (T2), respectively, and concentrations were found to be lower (P < 0.05) before contact between genders. Preovulatory peaks of LH (η g mL−1) were evaluated at 42 (T2) and at 80 h (T1) after exposure to males, with mean ovulatory follicles of 7.90 ± 0.31 (T1) and 8.50 ± 0.30 mm (T2) and a mean number of ovulations of 1.50 ± 0.54 (T1) and 1.60 ± 0.51 (T2). Pregnancy rates were 85.70 % (T1) and 93.3 % (T2), with no difference (P > 0.05) between groups. Results showed that the male effect was effective for inducing and concentrating the occurrence of estrus in postpartum ewes that had lambed within 35 to 60 days previously. Moreover, preovulatory LH peaks occurred within 80 h after physical contact between genders, which led to follicle luteinization and increased P4 concentration, without compromising pregnancy rates. The male effect can be used with postpartum ewes that had lambed within 35 to 40 days previously in order to decrease time between deliveries.