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Evolution of the corpus luteum volume determined ultrasonographically and its relation to the plasma progesterone concentration after artificial insemination in pregnant and non-pregnant dairy cows

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The aim of this study was to assess the relationship of the evolution of the corpus luteum (CL) volume that was determined ultrasonographically with the pregnancy status in lactating dairy cows during early pregnancy. Ultrasound examinations were carried out on 76 cows following artificial insemination (AI). Plasma concentrations of progesterone were determined from blood samples collected at each ultrasound examination. Conception was confirmed by ultrasonography on day 30 after AI. Around day 14 post-insemination (p.i.), the CL volume tended to decrease in pregnant and non-pregnant cows, and, after day 19 p.i., both groups differed significantly, indicating the luteal regression in non-pregnant cows. Reaching signification on day 20. The diminution in CL volume was also reflected in the plasma progesterone concentration. However, the patterns of CL volume, estimated by ultrasonography, differed more evidently and earlier between both groups (around 1 week p.i., at day 9 p.i. P < 0.05, whereas progesterone started to differ around 2 weeks p.i., at day 14 p.i, P < 0.05). These results indicate that the estimation of the CL volume by ultrasonography could be useful for assessing the presence of a functional CL.

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Corpus luteum

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Artificial insemination








Positive predictive value


Negative predictive value


Prostaglandin F


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Cristina Gómez Seco was supported by Junta de Castilla y León program EDU/1083/2013, supported by EDRF (EU).

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Correspondence to C. Gómez-Seco.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Gómez-Seco, C., Alegre, B., Martínez-Pastor, F. et al. Evolution of the corpus luteum volume determined ultrasonographically and its relation to the plasma progesterone concentration after artificial insemination in pregnant and non-pregnant dairy cows. Vet Res Commun 41, 183–188 (2017).

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  • Ultrasound
  • Corpus luteum
  • Progesterone
  • Pregnancy
  • Dairy cattle