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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of porcine relaxin on induced parturition in beef heifers.

Two-year-old crossbred beef heifers were used to test the effects of porcine relaxin (pRelaxin) alone, or in combination with dexamethasone, on the induction of parturition, the incidence of dystocia, and retained placentas. Effects of treatment on pelvic area, postpartum interval, milk production, colostrum quality, calf birth weight, calf vigor, and calf performance were also evaluated. On Day 275 of gestation, heifers from two fetal-sire groups were randomly assigned to one of four groups in a 2 x 2 factorial design and received; no treatment (controls, n = 19), 20 mg of dexamethasone intramuscularly (im) (n = 22), 5 mg of pRelaxin (3,000 U/mg) im (n = 19), or 20 mg of dexamethasone plus 5 mg of pRelaxin (n = 17). Length of gestation (in days) was less (P < 0.05) in heifers treated with dexamethasone (279.8 +/- 1.0) than in controls (286.6 +/- 0.9), but was not influenced (P > 0.05) by treatment with pRelaxin. The incidence of retained placentas in heifers treated only with dexamethasone (27.3%) was not reduced by concomitant treatment with pRelaxin (35.3%). Retained placentas were not observed in any control heifers and in only one heifer (5.2%) treated solely with pRelaxin. Ease of calving (1 = unassisted, 5 = abnormal presentation) was not influenced by treatment (P > 0.05), even though birth weights (in kilograms) of calves from heifers treated with dexamethasone (36.4 +/- 0.8) were less (P < .01) than those of calves from nondexa-methasone-treated heifers (39.2 +/- 0.8). Dexamethasone tended to reduce (P < 0.07) calf vigor (1 = healthy and strong, 5 = dead on arrival; 1.48 +/- 0.11 vs. 1.18 +/- 0.11), but was not (P > 0.05) influenced by pRelaxin. The duration of the postpartum anestrous interval (73.1 +/- 1.8 d across groups) and pelvic areas following treatment and parturition were not influenced (P > 0.05) by dexamethasone or pRelaxin. Although determinants of colostrum quality (P < 0.01) and quantity (P < 0.08) of milk produced were influenced by dexamethasone, adjusted 205-d weights of calves did not differ (P > 0.05) among groups. In conclusion, treatment with pRelaxin alone failed to induce parturition or, when combined with dexamethasone, to reduce the incidence of retained placentas.[1]


  1. Effects of porcine relaxin on induced parturition in beef heifers. Smith, D.E., Hixon, D.L., Moore, D.W., Van Kirk, E.A., Alexander, B.M., Anthony, R.V., Moss, G.E. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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