Effect of hCG administration on Day 7 post-mating on accessory corpus luteum development and progesterone concentration in llamas

Theriogenology. 2021 Dec 23;180:154-160. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2021.12.026. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

A high embryo loss rate has been reported in llamas. As strategies that lead to an increase in plasma progesterone (P4) concentration might improve fertility, the aim of the present study was to evaluate if the administration of hCG on Day 7 post-mating is useful to develop an accessory corpus luteum (CL), increasing plasma P4 concentration. Twenty (n = 20) female llamas, ranging between 5 and 10 years of age and four (n = 4) males of proven fertility, ranging between 8 and 10 years of age were included in the study. Accessory CL developed in all treated llamas after hCG administration and plasma P4 concentration was significantly greater in treated than in control females (P˂0.0001). The diameter and vascularization of the original CL were not affected by treatment in pregnant llamas. However, in treated non-pregnant llamas, corpus luteum diameter was greater than in the control group from Day 14 post-mating until the end of the study (P˂0.001). In treated llamas, the accessory CL was detected throughout the study in pregnant and non-pregnant females, but its vascularization started to decrease around Day 16 post-mating in non-pregnant animals (P˂0.05). In conclusion, hCG treatment on Day 7 post mating was useful to induce an accessory CL and increase plasma P4 concentration in llamas. Thus, this treatment could be considered as a useful strategy to improve pregnancy rates in llama herds.

Keywords: Corpus luteum; Llama; Pregnancy; Progesterone; hCG.