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Two experiments studied the effects of pretreatment with estradiol benzoate before treatment with a dopamine antagonist on prolactin secretion and reproductive traits in mares during (1) the seasonal anovulatory period and (2) the normal breeding season. Experiment 1 was performed in winter with 17 mares selected for low follicular activity. Nine mares received estradiol benzoate injections every other day for a total of 10 injections; 8 mares received similar injections of vehicle. Ten days after onset of injections, all mares were placed on daily injections of sulpiride (250 mg) for 35 days or until ovulation. Plasma prolactin concentrations were higher (P < .001) in mares receiving estradiol than in controls for all assessments from days 12 through 36. Plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) concentrations were also increased (P < .05) by estradiol treatment from days 14 to 23. Mean day of first ovulation was 73.6 for control mares and 29.0 for estradiol-treated mares (P = .016). Estradiol treatment greatly enhanced prolactin secretion in response to sulpiride and increased LH secretion in seasonally anovulatory mares, which together hastened the date of first ovulation by an average of 45 days. Experiment 2 was designed to assess the efficacy of a long-acting, single-injection microparticle preparation of another dopamine antagonist, domperidone, for increasing prolactin secretion in cyclic mares in the summer. The experimental design and procedures used in experiment 1 were repeated, except that a single 3-g domperidone-microparticle injection was administered on day 11 rather than 45 days of sulpiride injections. Day 0 was the first day of estrus for each mare. Prolactin concentrations were higher (P < .05) in mares receiving estradiol than in control mares from days 12 through 25 and after a thyrotropin-releasing hormone injection on d 21. Estrous cycle traits (time to ovulation and time of luteal regression) were not affected (P > .1) by treatment. Estradiol enhanced the prolactin response to a single injection of 3 g domperidone in cyclic mares in the summer in a manner similar to the estradiol enhancement of prolactin secretion in response to daily sulpiride injections in anovulatory mares in winter. Thus, the single injection of domperidone could possibly replace the daily sulpiride injections used in experiment 1 to induce ovulation in seasonally anovulatory mares; this needs to be tested in future experiments. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Equine Veterinary Science

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