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Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology


J. Yapura A , J. Singh A , R. J. Mapletoft A , R. Pierson A , D. Rogan B and G. P. Adams A
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A University of Saskatchewan, Canada;

B Bioniche Life Sciences, Ontario, Canada

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 24(1) 113-113
Published: 6 December 2011


Letrozole, a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor, prevents the body from producing its own oestrogen. The potential use of this compound for herd synchronization is supported by previous studies in which letrozole treatment increased mean plasma LH concentrations, prolonged the period of dominance of the extant dominant follicle and delayed emergence of the next follicular wave. Heifers given a 3-day regimen of letrozole exhibited greater corpus luteum diameter indicative of a luteotrophic effect. The objective of the present study was to test the hypothesis that letrozole treatment during the development of the preovulatory follicular wave will delay ovulation. Post-pubertal beef heifers were given 2 luteolytic doses of PGF (12 h apart) and monitored by ultrasonography for ovulation. Ovarian follicular wave emergence was synchronized by ultrasound-guided transvaginal follicular ablation 5 to 8 days after PGF-induced ovulation (Day –1 = follicular ablation, Day 0 = wave emergence) and a luteolytic dose of PGF was given 60 and 72 h later. On Day 1, heifers were divided randomly into 2 groups (n = 15/group) and given an intravaginal device containing 1 g of letrozole or a blank device (control). The intravaginal devices were removed on Day 7, or at the time of ovulation, whichever occurred first. The ovaries were monitored by ultrasonography and a blood sample was collected daily from day of ablation to 12 days post-ovulation. Single point measurements were analysed by t-tests and serial data were analysed by analysis of variance for repeated measures. Multiple contrasts were made by Tukey's test. The interval from placement of the intravaginal device to ovulation was longer in letrozole-treated animals (6.1 ± 0.25 vs 5.1 ± 0.26 days, P < 0.01). Compared with controls, the day-to-day diameter profile of the dominant follicle of the ovulatory wave was larger (P < 0.05) and the maximum diameter greater (14.6 ± 0.51 vs 12.4 ± 0.53 mm; P < 0.01) in letrozole-treated heifers. The diameter profile of the corpus luteum formed post-letrozole treatment did not differ between groups; however, plasma P4 concentrations were higher (P < 0.01) in heifers treated with letrozole. In summary, a slow-release intravaginal letrozole device delayed ovulation by 24 h and induced the formation of a corpus luteum that secreted higher levels of progesterone. A slow-release intravaginal letrozole device may become useful for the development of an aromatase inhibitor-based protocol to control ovulation for herd synchronization and to enhance fertility by increasing circulating progesterone concentrations during the first 7 days post-AI or embryo transfer in cattle.

Supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.