Progesterone and conceptus-derived factors important for conceptus survival and growth
Progesterone (P4) from the corpus luteum (CL) is critical for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy and plays a major role in regulating endometrial secretions essential for stimulating and mediating changes in conceptus growth and differentiation throughout early pregnancy in ruminants. Numerous studies have demonstrated an association between elevated P4 and acceleration in conceptus elongation. A combination of in vivo and in vitro experiments found that the effects of P4 on conceptus elongation are indirect and mediated through P4- induced effects in the endometrium. Despite effects on elongation, data on the impact of post-insemination supplementation of P4 on pregnancy rates are conflicting and typically only result in a modest improvement, if any, in fertility. Differences in conceptus length on the same day of gestation would suggest that factors intrinsic to the blastocysts transferred regulate development, at least in part, and would be consistent with the hypothesis that the quality of the oocyte regulates developmental competence. This paper will review recent knowledge on the effect of P4 on conceptus development in cattle and summarize strategies that have been undertaken to manipulate post fertilization P4 concentrations to increase fertility
cattle, conceptus, embryo, pregnancy, progesterone.