Using mycobacterium cell wall fraction to decrease equine chorionic gonadotropin after abortion

Carleigh E. Fedorka, Maria R. Schnobrich, Natacha D. Muderspach, Kirsten E. Scoggin, Madison T. Dedman, Kelly E. Weigle, Mary G. May, Heidi Twist, Cara R. Linse, Robert H. Douglas, Mats H.T. Troedsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Equine embryonic loss following the development of endometrial cups delays return to cyclicity due to the production of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG). Natural degradation of endometrial cups coincides with an influx of immune cells at 100–120 days of gestation, but therapeutic stimulation of reduced eCG production has been relatively unsuccessful. Recently, we observed an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine production following the use of the immunostimulant mycobacterium cell wall fraction (MCWF). Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of hysteroscopic-guided injection of MCWF on the accelerated decline of eCG secretion. Study design: In vivo experiment. Methods: Mares were pharmacologically aborted at 40–45 days of gestation, and then divided into groups: MCWF-treated (6 mg MCWF suspended in 20 mL LRS; n = 10) and Control (20 mL LRS; n = 6). Five days after abortion, hysteroscopic-guided injection of endometrial cups was performed, with 1 mL of volume placed into each visible endometrial cup. This was repeated 7 days later. Trans-rectal ultrasonography was performed to monitor ovarian activity, and serum was obtained to assess eCG and cytokine concentrations. Results: Concentrations of eCG decreased in the MCWF-treated group (p < 0.01) with a significant suppression noted as early as 14 days after onset of treatment and remained suppressed for the duration of the study. This coincided with an increase in peripheral IFN-γ (p < 0.01) and IL-1β (p < 0.01) concentrations. Eight out of ten MCWF-treated mares (80%) developed pre-ovulatory follicles, in comparison to 2/6 controls (33%). A pre-ovulatory follicle was noted 23 ± 4 days after onset of treatment. Main limitations: No pregnancy data was obtained following treatment. Conclusions: This is the first report of a treatment for the accelerated reduction of eCG following abortion. Stimulation of this process allowed mares to develop a pre-ovulatory follicle within a month of MCWF treatment onset, granting repeat attempts at breeding within the confines of a single breeding season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-814
Number of pages9
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number4
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Equine Veterinary Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of EVJ Ltd.


  • endometrial cups
  • equine abortion
  • equine chorionic gonadotropin
  • horse
  • immunomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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