In the present study, we investigated the influence of exogenous estrogen on embryo survival after transfer into prepubertal gilts in which estrus had been induced. In the first experiment, estrus was induced in prepubertal gilts by the administration of 1,000 IU of eCG and 750 IU of hCG every 72 h. Several blastocysts were recovered on d 6 (d 0 is the day of hCG administration), and 1 embryo was transferred to the tip of 1 side of the uterine horn on d 6 (Control). In treated groups, after embryo transfer, 5 mg of estradiol benzoate (EB) was administered on d 11 (EB5mg-1) or d 11, d 13, and d 15 (EB5mg-3) or d 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 (EB5mg-5) or 20 mg of estradiol dipropionate (EDP) was administered on d 11 (EDP20mg-1) or d 11 and d 14 (EDP20mg-2). Autopsy examinations were performed on d 53 to 60. Although nontreated gilts did not become pregnant, gilts in each of the estradiol-treated groups became pregnant. The greatest pregnancy rate (77.8%, 7/9) was obtained with EDP20mg-2 (EDP20mg-2 > control: P < 0.05). In a second experiment, 1 blastocyst was transferred to prepubertal gilts and treated with EDP20mg-2. Pregnancy in recipient pigs was confirmed by ultrasonography, and pigs were allowed to farrow. Embryo survival rate was high on d 30 of pregnancy (75%, 9/12) but had a tendency (P = 0.0995) to decline from d 30 to delivery (33.3%, 4/12). In a third experiment, prepubertal gilts were administered 5 mg of EDP on d 11 (EDB5mg-1) and d 11 and d 14 (EDP5mg-2). Autopsy examinations were performed on d 53 to 58. Pseudopregnancy rate was high for EDP5mg-2 (63.6%, 7/11) compared with EDP5mg-1 (0%, 0/11; P < 0.05). In a fourth experiment, prepuber-tal gilts were transferred 1 blastocyst and treated with EDP5mg-2. Pregnancy was confirmed in recipient pigs by ultrasonography, and pigs were subsequently allowed to farrow. Embryo survival rate remained unchanged from d 30 of pregnancy to delivery (66.7%; 8/12). One piglet died from dystocia, and 1 suffered from deformity involving double-breasted hooves and died 6 d after birth. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in survival rate on d 30 of pregnancy and weaning (50%, 6/12). Body weight at birth and at weaning did not differ from that reported in previous studies. In conclusion, this study showed that EDP5mg-2 treatment during early pregnancy leads to full-term development of a single embryo.
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