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Keywords:

  • immunosuppression;
  • progesterone;
  • prostaglandins;
  • sheep;
  • uterine diseases;
  • infection

Problem

Uterine infections often develop in some livestock species during the first luteal phase postpartum. Exogenous prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) induces luteolysis, reduces progesterone, and enables the uterus to resolve infections. However, the effects of PGF2α on luteal function and on immune functions are confounded. These effects must be disentangled to determine whether alternatives to antibiotic treatments can be successfully developed.

Method of study

Treatments were in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. Main effects were ovariectomy or sham on day 0 (i.e. estrus), exogenous progesterone or sesame oil from day 0 to 11, and exogenous PGF2α or saline on day 9. Intrauterine inoculations with Arcanobacterium pyogenes and Escherichia coli were administered on day 6.

Results

Ewes treated with exogenous PGF2α either did not have uterine infections, infections were less severe, or infections were resolving when uteri were examined on day 12, despite increased progesterone.

Conclusions

Exogenous PGF2α has effects on the resolution of uterine infections that are independent of its effects on luteal progesterone production.