Pregnancy-Associated Glycoprotein (PAG) Profile of Holstein-Friesian Cows as Compared to Dual-Purpose and Beef Cows
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Pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) are produced by mono-and binucleate trophoblast cells in the ruminant placenta. PAG appears in maternal blood and, from approximately 4 weeks after fertilization onward, may serve as a reliable means of diagnosing pregnancy. A range of factors are said to affect plasma PAG concentrations, such as number and sex of foetus, mass of calf and placenta, level of milk production and genetic constitution. In this study, PAG pregnancy profiles of a dual-purpose (Simmental) and two beef breeds (Uckermark and Aubrac) are compared with the profile of the specialized dairy breed Holstein-Friesian. Holstein-Friesian cows were sampled weekly; the levels of the other breeds were presented at 3-week intervals. The overall significant breed difference (p = 0.013) was founded on deviations during the initial 3 weeks of pregnancy and from 23 weeks onward. During the period critical for the detection of pregnancy, between four and 22 weeks, agreement between PAG levels of various breeds was close (p > 0.05). No significant effect of body mass of cow or calf (relative to mass of dam) was detected. These findings imply that the PAG pregnancy test may be executed uniformly irrespective of breed or type of cow, affirming the suitability of the test as a valuable asset for the cattle industry.