The negative effect of repeated equine chorionic gonadotropin treatment on subsequent fertility in Alpine goats is due to a humoral immune response involving the major histocompatibility complex.

Abstract

In dairy goats, the use of eCG as a convenient hormone for the induction of ovulation is necessary for out-of-season breeding and artificial insemination. However, repeated eCG treatments are followed by decreased fertility in goats inseminated at a fixed time after treatment. In this report, we show the presence of anti-eCG antibodies in plasma of treated goats. A 500 IU eCG injection induces a humoral response, with variable concentrations of anti-eCG antibody being produced in individual goats. The analysis of successive anti-eCG immune responses over several years has demonstrated the existence of different populations of goats, defined as low, medium, and high responders. By the use of two caprine microsatellites located inside (OLADRB) and outside (BM1258) the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a significant association (p < 0.05) between the anti-eCG antibody response and some MHC-DRB alleles was found. Goats with high antibody concentrations at the time of eCG injection (> 2.5 microg/ml) exhibited a much lower kidding rate than did other females (41.3% vs. 66.7%). Lower fertility of these goats, inseminated at a fixed time after eCG treatment, might be due to the observed delay in estrus occurrence and the preovulatory LH surge.

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