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Research article2003Peer reviewed

Two different schemes of twice-weekly ovum pick-up in dairy heifers: effect on oocyte recovery and ovarian function

Petyim S, Bage R, Hallap T, Bergqvist AS, Rodriguez-Martinez H, Larsson B


The aim of the present study was to compare two different schemes of twice-weekly ovum pick-up (OPU), continuous (C) and discontinuous (DC), with special emphasis on differences in oocyte yield and quality, estrous cyclicity, ovarian dynamics, and progesterone production. Subsequent to characterization of their normal estrous cycles (pre-OPU period), eight dairy heifers were subjected to 4 months of twice-weekly OPU under two different schemes: the DC (OPU restricted to Days 0-12 of the cycle) and the C schemes. Effects of the two different schemes on oocyte yield, quality, and in vitro competence, together with effects on ovarian dynamics and progesterone production, were monitored. The mean numbers of punctured follicles and recovered oocytes per session were slightly higher (not significant (n.s.)) using the DC scheme, but in total, similar numbers of oocytes were obtained. The quality of the oocytes as well as cleavage rate after in vitro fertilization of the oocytes did not differ between the two OPU schemes. There was no influence of a corpus luteum (CL) producing progesterone on the oocyte yield and quality, whereas the presence of dominant follicles appeared to decrease the number of recovered ooctyes. During the pre-OPU period, all heifers showed normal cyclicity. In the DC scheme, the heifers showed regular and normal cyclic activity throughout the puncture period, with one to two complete follicular waves during the interval from the last OPU to the next estrus. In the C scheme, the heifers occasionally revealed cyclicities with irregular interestrous intervals and weaker signs of estrus. No complete follicular waves were seen during the OPU period in this scheme. The CL developed from the ovulation of the preovulatory follicles in the DC scheme showed similar characteristics to the CLs of the pre-OPU period; however, the CL-like structures from the puncture of follicles, in both the DC and the C schemes, revealed a shorter life span and inferior competence in producing progesterone (P < 0.05). The present results indicate that the DC OPU scheme, which allows animals to go into natural ovulation prior to the first OPU, does not affect their ovarian function, whereas the C OPU scheme does. Our study further demonstrates that an equal number of oocytes can be obtained with both schemes, but that fewer OPUs are needed when the DC scheme is applied. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved


Dairy heifers; Twice-weekly ovum pick-up (OPU); Discontinuous (DC); Continuous (C)

Published in

2003, Volume: 60, number: 1, pages: 175-188