Corpus luteum size and plasma progesterone concentration in cows
It is often assumed that a larger corpus luteum will produce more progesterone and generate higher circulating plasma concentrations. The aim of the study was to determine whether the size of the corpus luteum does actually determine circulating plasma progesterone concentrations. Data were collated from a number of studies on various aspects of luteal function in non-lactating dairy cows to allow comparisons to be made between corpus luteum weight and plasma progesterone concentration across the luteal phase. In these studies oestrous cycles had been synchronised and animals slaughtered on day 5, day 8 or day 16 following oestrus. Both corpus luteum weight and plasma progesterone concentration increased between day 5 and day 8. Plasma progesterone concentration but not luteal weight also increased between day 8 and day 16. On day 5 there was a strong relationship between corpus luteum weight and plasma progesterone (R2 = 0.64; P < 0.001). However, no such relationship was present on day 8 or day 16. These results indicate that while during the early stage of corpus luteum development a relationship between size and progesterone is present, by day 8 of the cycle, the size of the corpus luteum is no longer of importance in determining circulating progesterone concentrations. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.