© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Treatment with intrauterine devices (IUD) prolongs luteal phases in mares, but the mechanism for this has not been fully elucidated. The aims of the present study were to examine how IUDs affect the uterus to induce longer luteal phases, particularly the role of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the maintenance of the corpus luteum (CL). Twenty-seven reproductively normal mares were included: 12 were inseminated (AI), and 15 were fitted with IUDs. Blood samples for progesterone were obtained on Days 0, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, and 15 (relative to day of ovulation). The groups were further divided into non-pregnant (AI-N, n = 4), pregnant (AI-P, n = 8), normal (IUD-N, n = 8) and prolonged luteal phase (IUD-P, n = 7) based on ultrasonic examinations and serum progesterone concentrations on Days 14 and 15. Blood sampling to quantify the PGF 2α metabolite (PGFM) was performed through a catheter hourly from 15:00 to 20:00 h on Day 14, and from 6:00 until 13:00 h on Day 15. On Day 15, a low-volume uterine lavage followed by an endometrial biopsy was performed. Estradiol concentration in the Day 15 serum and lavage fluid was determined, while the abundance of COX-2 was evaluated in the biopsy specimens using western blotting (WB) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). All pregnant mares were negative for COX-2 in IHC samples and 5 of 8 were negative in WB samples while all mares of the IUD-N group were positive for COX-2. Of the seven mares in the IUD-P group, five and four were negative for COX-2 with the IHC and WB samples, respectively. The results from this study indicate that IUDs, when effective, suppress COX-2, leading to the inhibition of PGF2α release and maintenance of CL.
- Intrauterine device