GnRH‐agonist deslorelin implant alters the progesterone release pattern during early pregnancy in gilts

S.M. Haen*, M. Heinonen, J. Kauffold, M. Heikinheimo, Lia Hoving, N.M. Soede, O.A.T. Peltoniemi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of progesterone (P) and luteinizing hormone (LH) during recognition and establishment of pregnancy in the gilt. Therefore, the effects of eliminating episodic LH pulses on P patterns were determined during early pregnancy. To this end, a slow‐release GnRH implant deslorelin was used for GnRH down‐regulation. A group of gilts (GnRHa, n = 8) was implanted with the GnRH‐agonist on Day 11 of pregnancy, while a control group (C, n = 5) was treated with a non‐impregnated placebo implant. Blood was collected via a vena cava caudalis catheter at 10‐min intervals for 8 hr on Day 16 and 21 of pregnancy. As expected, the GnRH implant reduced LH secretion (p < 0.01) and abolished LH pulses completely at Day 16 and Day 21 of pregnancy. On Day 16, there was no difference in P levels between the treatments. However, on Day 21, the GnRH‐agonist treatment led to significantly increased P concentrations (p < 0.01) compared with the control gilts. Progesterone was secreted in a pulsatile manner in both treatment groups and no relationship between LH pulsatility and P pulsatility was observed. In conclusion, abolishment of LH pulsatility did not affect the pulsatile pattern of P secretion but led to an unexpected overall increase in P on Day 21 of pregnancy; this effect was delayed and occurred 10 days after commencing treatment with the GnRH depot agonist. The elevation of P on Day 21 of pregnancy in the GnRHa group suggests either a reduced negative feedback effect or an increased autocrine response by the corpora lutea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-472
Number of pages9
JournalReproduction in Domestic Animals
Issue number3
Early online date15 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • deslorelin
  • early pregnancy
  • gilt
  • GnRH-agonist
  • luteinizing hormone
  • progesterone


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