Author(s): Bollwein H, Mayer R, Weber F, Stolla R
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Abstract Transrectal color Doppler ultrasound was used for the noninvasive investigation of luteal blood flow during the estrous cycle in six mares. Color was displayed in Power-Mode, in which the number of color pixels on the ultrasound image is related to the number of moving blood cells. Three pictures with a maximum number of color pixels of the corpus luteum (CL) during an examination period of about 20 min were selected and digitized on a laptop equipped with an external frame grabber card. The intra-class correlation coefficient for the number of color pixels was 0.90. In all estrous cycles similar patterns of changes in (C), in the cross-sectional area of sectional planes of the CL (A), and in plasma progesterone levels (P) occurred. Variance component estimates for the effect of the mare on (C), (A) and (P) were 14, 23 and 4\%, for the influence of day of estrous cycle they were 41, 5 and 58\% and for the effect of estrous cycle they were 7, 5 and 5\%, respectively. There were high positive correlations between cyclic changes in (C) and (P) (r = 0.58; P < 0.0001). The increase in (C) between Days 0 and 5 (Day 0: ovulation) remained at high levels until Day 7 and then decreased until Day 15. There were relationships between (C) and (A) (r = 0.37; P < 0.0001) and between (A) and (P) (r = 0.24; P < 0.05), but correlation coefficients were not as high as between (C) and (P). Differences in (C), (A) and (P) between estrous cycles within mares and between mares were not related to each other (P > 0.05). The results show that transrectal color Doppler sonography is a useful, noninvasive method for examining luteal blood flow in mares, and that there are cyclic changes and individual differences in the vascularization of the CL. The possible influence of luteal perfusion on fertility in mares needs to be investigated in further studies.
This article was published in Theriogenology
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science