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In the last decade, several new aspects of the inflammation of the bovine endometrium have been investigated and described, including a new definition of subclinical endometritis. This review summarizes the recent discussion about the definition, diagnosis and pathomechanism of subclinical endometritis. Subclinical endometritis also referred to as cytological endometritis is defined by findings of endometrial cytology, which is usually performed with the cytobrush-technique or by low-volume flushing of the uterus. The sampling procedure is minimally invasive and has no negative impact on subsequent conception rate. The suggested threshold value for polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) as diagnostic for subclinical endometritis depends on the time postpartum and varies from 5 to 18%. It has also been shown that a general threshold of 5% PMN is eligible for all cows between 21 and 62 days postpartum. Accuracy and repeatability of counting PMN under the microscope have been evaluated and can be regarded as reliable. The impact of subclinical endometritis on reproductive performance is characterized by decreased conception rates, and prolonged days to first service and days open. In addition, it has been demonstrated that subclinical endometritis has an impact on survival and quality of the embryo. Some studies, however, did not confirm this negative effect of subclinical endometritis on fertility. More detailed analyses of the cytobrush samples revealed higher mRNA expression of several cytokines in cows with subclinical endometritis compared with healthy cows, and contributed to the understanding of detrimental effects of subclinical endometritis on fertility. In contrast to clinical endometritis, there are no predominant bacteria related to subclinical endometritis, but associations between the presence of α-hemolytic streptococci and Trueperella pyogenes and subclinical endometritis have been found. For the treatment of subclinical endometritis, intrauterine infusions with cephapirin as well as the administration of PGF2α have been recommended. Other studies, however, did not confirm the efficiency of these treatments.