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Administration of progesterone in poly(d-, l-lactide) microspheres was used to maintain pregnancy in mares after luteolysis was induced by treatment with prostaglandin F at day 14 of pregnancy. Mares were given vehicle only (control, n = 6) or 0.75 g (n = 7), 1.5 g (n = 8), or 2.25 g (n = 5) of microencapsulated progesterone at days 12 and 22 of pregnancy. Serum progesterone concentrations were determined daily, and pregnancy was evaluated by transrectal ultrasonography on alternate days. Significantly (P < 0.05) more mares given 1.5 or 2.25 g of progesterone (6 of 8 and 4 of 5 mares, respectively), but not those given 0.75 g (3 of 7 mares), maintained pregnancy through day 32, compared with control mares (0 of 6). Progesterone concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.025) in all groups after administration of prostaglandin F at day 14, and significant (P < 0.05) effects of time and treatment on progesterone concentrations were found between days 12 and 22, and 22 and 32. Although treatment with 1.5-g and 2.25-g doses of microencapsulated progesterone improved maintenance of pregnancy, compared with that of vehicle-treated controls, administration of 2.25 g of microencapsulated progesterone appeared to be most efficacious in maintenance of pregnancy during the study interval.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine the role of progesterone in the regulation of endogenous prostaglandin F (PGF) secretion during cloprostenol-induced abortion and to investigate use of progestins to prevent prostaglandin-associated abortion.


16 pregnant mares.


To induce abortion, cloprostenol (250 μg/d) was administered daily until fetal expulsion or for up to 5 days. In experiment 1, 8 mares, 98 to 153 days’ pregnant, received progesterone (300 mg/d) at 24-hour intervals for 5 days, starting 18 hours after the first cloprostenol administration. In experiment 2, 8 mares, 93 to 115 days’ pregnant, received altrenogest (44 mg/d) at 24-hour intervals, starting 12 hours after the first cloprostenol administration. Historic control mares, 82 to 102 days’ pregnant, received cloprostenol (250 μg/d) daily until fetal expulsion.


In control mares, fetal expulsion occurred after 2 to 3 cloprostenol administrations and was associated with significant increases in PGF secretion. Abortion did not occur in 5 of 8 progesterone-treated mares and 8 of 8 altrenogest-treated mares, and endogenous PGF secretion was inhibited, compared with values in aborting mares.


Circulating progestogen concentrations may have a role in the outcome of pregnancy during prostaglandin-induced abortion. Altered prostaglandin secretion may be a reflection of a direct effect of progesterone or may be caused by the abortion process.

Clinical Relevance

Progestogens might be useful for prevention of abortion in mares in which pregnancy is at risk owing to diseases that are associated with excess prostaglandin secretion. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1331-1337)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


The role of prostaglandin F (pgf ) in embryonic loss following induced endotoxemia was studied in mares that were 21 to 44 days pregnant. Thirteen pregnant mares were treated with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, flunixin meglumine, to inhibit the synthesis of pgf caused by Salmonella typhimurium endotoxin given iv. Flunixin meglumine was administered either before injection of the endotoxin (group 1, -10 min; n = 7), or after endotoxin injection into the mares (group 2, 1 hour, n = 3; group 3, 2 hours, n = 3); 12 pregnant mares (group 4) were given only S typhimurium endotoxin.

In group 4, the secretion of pgf , as determined by plasma 15-keto-13,14-dihydro-pgf concentrations, was biphasic, initially peaking at 30 minutes followed by a second, larger peak approximately 105 minutes after the endotoxin was given iv. When flunixin meglumine was administered at −10 minutes, synthesis of pgf was inhibited for several hours, after administration of flunixin meglumine at 1 hour, the second secretory surge of pgf was blocked, and administration of the drug at 2 hours did not substantially modify the secretion of pgf .

Plasma progesterone concentrations were unchanged after endotoxin injections were given in group 1. In group 2, progesterone values decreased < 2 ng/ml and remained low for several days. In group 3 and group 4, progesterone concentrations decreased to values < 0.5 ng/ml by 48 hours after endotoxin injections were given. Pregnancy continued in all 7 mares in group 1; in group 2, pregnancy continued in 2 of 3 mares; and in group 3, none of the 3 mares was pregnant by 4 days after endotoxin administration.

The abortifacient effect of endotoxemia in mares < 2 months pregnant is mediated indirectly through the secretion of pgf ; compromised luteal activity and inadequate progesterone secretion are the primary causes of fetal death. Although flunixin meglumine administration can be used to prevent loss of pregnancy in cases of endotoxemia, it must be initiated at an early stage of the endotoxemia, that is, when clinical signs are often not yet apparent.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


The role of decreased luteal activity in embryonic loss after induced endotoxemia was studied in mares 21 to 35 days pregnant. Fourteen pregnant mares were treated daily with 44 mg of altrenogest to compensate for the loss of endogenous progesterone secretion caused by prostaglandin F (pgf ) synthesis and release following intravenous administration of Salmonella typhimurium endotoxin. Altrenogest was administered daily from the day of endotoxin injection until day 40 of gestation (group 1; n = 7), until day 70 (group 2; n = 5), or until day 50 (group 3; n = 2).

In all mares, secretion of pgf , as determined by the plasma 15-keto-13,14-dihydro-pgf concentrations, followed a biphasic pattern, with an initial peak at 30 minutes followed by a second, larger peak at 105 minutes after endotoxin injection. Plasma progesterone concentrations decreased in all mares to values < 1 ng/ml within 24 hours after endotoxin injection.

In group 1, progesterone concentrations for all mares were < 1 ng/ml until the final day of altrenogest treatment. In 6 of 7 mares in group 1, the fetuses died within 4 days after the end of treatment, with progesterone concentrations < than 1 ng/ml at that time. In the mare that remained pregnant after the end of treatment, plasma progesterone concentration was 1.6 ng/ml on day 41 and increased to 4.4 ng/ml on day 44.

In group 2, all mares remained pregnant, even though plasma progesterone concentrations were < 1 ng/ml in 4 of 5 mares from the day after endotoxin injection until after the end of altrenogest treatment. One group-2 mare appeared to develop a secondary corpus luteum before day 70, with progesterone concentrations greater than 1 ng/ml from day 36 through day 70.

Daily altrenogest administration consistently prevented pregnancy loss, which usually follows induced endotoxemia. Altrenogest administration offers a reliable and practical treatment for the prevention of fetal loss following endotoxemia in mares < 2 months pregnant.

One group-3 mare remained pregnant, and in the other mare, fetal death was diagnosed 8 days after endotoxin administration, although this mare was still being treated with altrenogest. In that case fetal death was believed to be unrelated to the treatment.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research