Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

Cortisol levels effects on the reproductive success in cattle of different temperaments during fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI)

Nuna Faria, José Pacheco-Lima, Maria Helena da Silva, A. Borba, Joaquim Fernando Moreira da Silva

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The present study assessed the effect of stress on cattle's reproductive performances. A total of 137 cows were divided into two groups: 65 belonging to the Azores Lydia breed and 72 crossing Aberdeen-Angus with Limousine. The cows were negative for IBR, Chlamydia, and BVD diseases, with a body condition score ranging from 2.75 to 4.0. The experimental procedures were initiated eight days after the animals were passed through the containment sleeve for routine and human presence. A progesterone-impregnated controlled internal drug release (CIDR®) insert was placed intravaginally, and an injection of GnRH was given for synchronization. After seven days, PGF2α was administered, and the CIDR® was removed. Sixty hours after removal, cows were inseminated once, after another injection of GnRH to induce ovulation. Pregnancy diagnosis was performed by ultrasonography 30 days after artificial insemination. Peripheral blood was collected in 5 ml tubes with Z Serum Sep Clot Activator, and the cortisol was measured using the IMMULITE 2000 Immunoassay System®. Statistical differences (p≤0.05) for cortisol levels were indicated in our results among both groups, with crossbred beef cows and Azores Lydia cows being 4.3±0.3 ng/dl and 5.8±0.4 ng/dl, respectively. The pregnancy results were also statistically different: 63.7% vs. 45.6% for beef crossbred and Azores Lydia cows, respectively. A negative correlation between cortisol levels and pregnancy rates after fixed-time artificial insemination was demonstrated in the present study. The low levels of cortisol observed in the animals, particularly in the Azores Lydia breed, when compared to other studies carried out on these animals, must be attributed to the passage of the animals in the sleeve, which habituated them to a routine, as well as to human presence.


stress, cortisol, pregnancy success, Azores Lydia cattle


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