Prostaglandin based estrus synchronization in postpartum dairy cows: an update.

K Murugavel, J L Yániz, P Santolaria, M López-Béjar, F López-Gatius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Oestrus synchronization programs used in dairy cattle mainly involve the use of the luteolytic agents prostaglandin or their analogues. Prostaglandin is able to synchronize oestrus by inducing the regression of the corpus luteum. Because prostaglandin is only effective in dioestrus cows, a double prostaglandin protocol applied 11 to 14 days apart seems to be capable of bringing most cows to oestrus. The 14-day rather than 11-day interval gives rise to an improved conception rate, because most cows will be in the late luteal phase of the oestrous cycle when they receive the second prostaglandin dose. The time of provoked oestrus onset is affected by the oestrous cycle stage at the time of prostaglandin treatment. Due to varying oestrus-onset times, improved conception rates are obtained after AI at detected oestrus rather than fixed-time AI in prostaglandin-treated cows. The administration of estradiol, hCG, or both after prostaglandin treatment improves the synchrony of oestrus but does not enhance conception rate. Progesterone-based treatments for oestrus synchronization are considered the most appropriate for noncyclic or anoestrous postpartum dairy cows; prostaglandin alone is ineffective in these cows because of the absence of a mature corpus luteum. Improved oestrus synchrony and fertility rate have been reported using short-term progesterone treatment regimes (7-9 days) with or without estradiol benzoate combined with the use of a luteolytic agent given 1 day before, or at the time of, progesterone withdrawal. The ovulation synchronization (Ovsynch) protocol, based on the use of GnRH and prostaglandin, was recently developed to coordinate follicular recruitment, CL regression, and the time of ovulation. This protocol allows fixed time insemination and has proven effective in improving reproductive management in postpartum dairy cows. However, it has not proven effective in heifers because of their inconsistent follicular wave pattern. The early luteal phase of the oestrus cycle is considered optimal for initiation of the Ovsynch protocol in dairy cows. Presynchronization with prostaglandin to ensure the protocol is started in the early luteal phase has been found to improve pregnancy rates. To date, several prostaglandin-based, fixed-time insemination oestrus synchronization protocols are available for use in early postpartum dairy cows with ovarian disorders. This report reviews the most recent developments in prostaglandin-based oestrus synchronization programs for postpartum dairy cows and addresses the efficiency of controlled breeding protocols based on such developments for cows with an abnormal ovarian condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Animal Physiology and Biochemistry (Excluding Nutr
  • Animal Reproduction and Embryology (LL250) (New Ma
  • Artiodactyla
  • Bos
  • Bovidae
  • Chordata
  • GnRH
  • HCG
  • animals
  • cattle
  • cows
  • dairy cattle
  • estrogens
  • estrus
  • eukaryotes
  • gonadoliberin
  • gonadotropin releasing hormone
  • human chorionic gonadotropin
  • human gonadotropic hormone
  • mammals
  • oestrogens
  • oestrus
  • ovarian diseases
  • postpartum period
  • progesterone
  • prostaglandins
  • reviews
  • ruminants
  • synchronization
  • urogonadotropin
  • vertebrates


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