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Bollwein, H.; Meyer, H. H. D.; Maierl, Johann; Weber, Frank; Baumgartner, U.; Stolla, R. (2000): Transrectal Doppler sonography of uterine blood flow in cows during the estrous cycle. In: Theriogenology, Vol. 53, No. 8: pp. 1541-1552
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Transrectal Doppler ultrasound was used for the noninvasive investigation of uterine blood flow in cows. Both the left and right Aa. uterinae were scanned to obtain blood flow velocity waveforms over 2 consecutive estrous cycles. Blood flow was reflected by the resistance index (RI) and the time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMV). Intra-observer reproducibility of Doppler measurements was evaluated. The intra-class correlation coefficient (Intra-CC) was 0.97 for the RI and 0.95 for TAMV. While RI values did not differ between the left and right A. uterina (P > 0.05), differences in TAMV occurred between both vessels in 2 cows. These differences were not related to the ovary bearing the dominant follicle or to the corpus luteum (P < 0.001). As in all cows, changes of RI and TAMV values between the left and right artery during the estrous cycle were correlated (correlation coefficient r > 0.72; P < 0.0001); the mean values of both sides were used for subsequent analyses. Variance component estimates for the effect of cow on RI and TAMV were 8 and 13% and for the influence of day of estrous cycle they were 70 and 47%, respectively (P < 0.0001). Between estrous cycles no significant differences could be measured within cows (P > 0.05). The highest RI and lowest TAMV values occurred on Day 0 (= day of ovulation) and Day 1, while the lowest RI and highest TAMV values were measured between Days -3 and -1 of the estrous cycle, respectively. There was a positive correlation between TAMV and estrogen concentrations and a negative correlation between RI and plasma estrogen levels. Plasma progesterone levels and TAMV were negatively correlated, but no correlation could be measured (P > 0.05) between RI values and plasma progesterone concentrations. While there were no differences in plasma concentrations of estrogens and progesterone between estrous cycles within cows, the levels of these hormones differed between cows. The results show that transrectal Doppler sonography is a useful, noninvasive method for examining uterine blood flows in cows. If there is an influence of uterine perfusion on fertility in cows its role needs further investigation.