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Endometrium: endometrial cup retention

pequis

Synonym(s): Persistent endometrial cups


Introduction

  • Recently reported and so far little-understood phenomenon which may go some way to explaining why some mares are every other year breeders.
  • Mares which have previously aborted or foaled retain their endometrial cups. This results in a failure to exhibit normal estrous cyclicity, absence of fertile ovulations, and hence reduced fertility.
  • Cause: failure of spontaneous maternal immune reaction to destroy endometrial cups.
  • Signs: erratic estrus behavior.
  • Diagnosis: ultrasound, serology, hysteroscopy.
  • Treatment: laser ablation.
  • Prognosis: good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Endometrial cups are unique to the mare.
  • They usually form from invasion of the fetal trophoblast into the maternal endometrium at c day 35 of pregnancy.
  • Endometrial cups normally persist until c day 90-150 or pregnancy, when they are destroyed by a spontaneous maternal immune reaction.
  • Endometrial cups produce the hormone equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) - formerly known as pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin (PMSG).
  • eCG causes the development of multiple follicles on each ovary, which either ovulate or luteinize to form secondary corpora lutea.
  • The secondary corpora lutea produce progesterone which sustains the pregnancy.
  • The production of progesterone by secondary corpora lutea prevents the mare from coming back into estrus if she either resorbs/aborts after the formation of endometrial cups, or if the endometrial cups do not regress at c day 90-150 of pregnancy as normal, but persist for longer following abortion or foaling.
  • Retention of endometrial cups for up to 18 months following foaling has been reported.
  • Persistent endometrial cups do eventually regress spontaneously.

Timecourse

  • Endometrial cups have been reported to persist for up to 18 months.
  • Retention of endometrial cups by one mare following two consecutive pregnancies has been reported.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Allen W R & Wilsher S (2012) Persistent endometrial cups in the same mare in two successive pregnancies. Equine Vet Educ 24 (5), 247-250 VetMedResource.
  • Crabtree J R, Chang Y & de Mestre A M (2012) Clinical presentation, treatment and possible causes of persistent endometrial cups illustrated by two cases. Equine Vet Educ 24 (5), 251-258 VetMedResource.
  • Steiner J, Antczak D F, Wolfsdorf K et al (2006) Persistent endometrial cups. Anim Repro Sci 94, 274-275 ResearchGate.
  • Willis L A & Riddle W T (2005) Theriogenology question of the month. Endometrial cups. JAVMA 226 (6), 877-879 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Kutzler M, Huber M, Brubraker J & Roser J (2008) Laser Fulguration of Endometrial Cups to Restore Estrous Cyclicity. In: Procs 10th Int Cong WEVA. pp 563-564.
  • Mitchell D & Betteridge K J (1972) Persistence of endometrial cups and serum gonadotrophin following abortion in the mare. In: Procs 7th Internat Congress on Animal Reproduction. Vol I. AI, Germany. pp 567-570.

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