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Suppression of preovulatory luteinizing hormone surges in heifers after intrauterine infusions of Escherichia coli endotoxin

American Journal of Veterinary Research 50(3): 368-373

Suppression of preovulatory luteinizing hormone surges in heifers after intrauterine infusions of Escherichia coli endotoxin

A study was conducted to test the hypothesis that high cortisol concentrations associated with products of infections (endotoxin) cause derangement in the neuroendocrine mechanism controlling ovulation in heifers. Eight Holstein heifers were given 2 injections of prostaglandin (PG), 11 days apart, to synchronize estrus. Starting from 25 hours after the second injection of PG (PG-2), the uterus of each heifer was infused with 5 ml of pyrogen-free water (control, n = 3) or Escherichia coli endotoxin (5 .mu.g/kg of body weight) in 5 ml of pyrogen-free water (treated, n = 5), once every 6 hours for 10 treatments. Blood samples were obtained every 15 minutes via indwelling jugular catheter for an hour before and 2 hours after each infusion, then hourly until an hour before the next infusion. Ultrasonography of the ovaries was performed every 12 hours, starting 24 hours after PG-2 injection until 96 hours after PG-2 injection. Serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone and cortisol were determined by validated radioimmunoassays. Changes in cortisol concentrations were not detected in control heifers with preovulatory luteinizing hormone surges at 60 to 66 hours after PG-2 injection, followed by ovulations 72 to 96 hours after PG-2 was injected. None of the treated heifers ovulated, and the resulting follicular cysts (14 to 18 mm diameter) persisted for 7 to 21 days. In all treated heifers, serum cortisol concentrations increased (4- to 10-fold) during the first 2 hours after each infusion and then decreased gradually until the next infusion. Luteinizing hormone concentrations remained at baseline values throughout the treatment period in all treated heifers. These findings suggested that endotoxin-induced increases in cortisol concentrations during the preovulatory period of the estrous cycle prevented ovulations by blunting the preovulatory luteinizing hormone surges.

Accession: 007847101

PMID: 2648904

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