No increase in pregnancy rate of mares after preovulatory deep uterine horn application of misoprostol
A potential source of fertility loss in mares is oviductal dysfunction, potentially caused by masses or debris in the lumen, that may prevent either sperm from reaching the fertilization site or the embryo from reaching the uterus. Recently a novel therapeutic method leading to increased pregnancy results was described by infusing misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin E1, in the uterus of mares with unexplained fertility problems. In this study, we aimed, after examining the compatibility of misoprostol with semen, to evaluate the pregnancy rate after routine preovulatory deep uterine horn application of misoprostol in clinically normal oestrous mares, which were inseminated in the same cycle. In experiment 1, ejaculates of 10 stallions diluted with INRA 96™ were mixed with different concentrations of misoprostol (0.01 mg/mL, 0.001 mg/mL, 0.0001 mg/mL, and 0.00001 mg/mL) and total semen motility was evaluated immediately, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h later, and compared with a control sample (mixed with NaCl 0.9%). In experiments 2 and 3, 33 privately-owned clinically normal oestrous mares were each allocated to a treatment or control group. Ovulation was then induced with intramuscularly 2.25 mg deslorelin acetate. At the moment of ovulation induction (experiment 2) and 24 h earlier (experiment 3), 0.2 mg misoprostol diluted in 2 mL NaCl 0.9% were applied deep in the uterine horn (treatment groups) and pure 2 mL NaCl 0.9% in the mares of the control groups. Mares were then inseminated 24 h after deslorelin administration and prior to ovulation with commercial chilled-warmed or frozen-thawed semen, as well as immediately after ovulation detection (both types of semen) maximally 48 h after ovulation induction. In experiment 1, regardless of time and compared with the control groups, all solutions with different concentrations of misoprostol had a negative effect on total motility of semen, which was significant for the highest concentrations (0.01 mg/mL: 18.0% reduction, CI = 22-13%, p = < 0.01). We found no beneficial effect of preovulatory uterine treatment with misoprostol on pregnancy rate (OR = 0.45, CI = 0.15-1.31, p = 0.14): in experiment 2, 2/11 (18.2%) mares of the treatment group became pregnant vs. 12/22 (54.5%) mares in the control group (OR = 0.19, CI = 0.03-1.06, p = 0.07), in experiment 3, 5/14 (35.7%) mares in the treatment group vs. 7/19 (36.8%) mares in the control group (OR = 0.95, CI = 0.23-4.02, p = 0.95), respectively. In conclusion, pregnancy rate was not increased in reproductively normal mares with routine preovulatory deep uterine horn application of misoprostol.