Postpartum follicular and luteal activity in Holstein - Friesian cows genetically selected for high or low mature bodyweight : Relationships with follicle stimulating hormone , insulin , insulin-like growth factor-1 and growth hormone

Postpartum follicular and luteal activity in Holstein - Friesian cows genetically selected for high or low mature bodyweight : Relationships with follicle stimulating hormone , insulin , insulin-like growth factor-1 and growth hormone
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To investigate ovarian follicular and luteal activity during the postpartum period of cows genetically selected for high or low mature bodyweight, in relation to metabolic and reproductive endocrine parameters, to determine whether there are differences between strains that could affect fertility outcomes.
METHODS: The presence of follicles ≥5 mm diameter and luteal structures was mapped in the ovaries of 12 high (heavy-strain) and 12 low (light-strain) mature bodyweight cows by daily trans-rectal ultrasonography from Day 7 postpartum until the end of their first normal oestrous cycle. Blood samples were collected daily, for measurement of concentrations of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), progesterone, growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and insulin. Intervals to first ovulation were calculated from ultrasonography data.
RESULTS: Heavy-strain cows had shorter intervals than light-strain cows from calving to the emergence of the first (9.0 (SE 0.9) vs 12.4 (SE 1.3) days) and second (16.4 (SE 1.8) vs 20.6 (SE 1.6) days) dominant follicles (p<0.05). Concentrations of FSH in heavy-strain cows prior to the emergence of the second, third and fourth dominant follicles were higher than in light-strain cows (p<0.05). Heavy-strain cows were more likely to have a large (>15 mm diameter) follicle earlier than light-strain cows (p<0.01). Concentrations of insulin and IGF-1, but not those of GH, were higher in heavy- than light-strain cows during the postpartum period (p=0.01 and p=0.02, respectively), and concentrations of both on Day 6 were inversely related to the time of emergence of the first dominant follicle (p<0.01). Concentrations of progesterone were similar in both strains of cow until Day 10 of the first oestrous cycle, but thereafter were higher in light- than heavy-strain cows until Day 16. Progesterone concentrations in heavy-strain cows declined earlier and more rapidly than in their lighter counterparts.
CONCLUSION: These results indicate that there is a rapid postpartum resumption of follicular activity in both heavy- and light-strain cows, but that there is an earlier emergence of dominant follicles and ovulation in the former. Differences in luteal function, in terms of lower dioestrus progesterone concentrations and an earlier onset of luteolysis, in heavy- than light-strain cows might be sufficient to impair the fertility of the former.
KEY WORDS: Postpartum period, Holstein-Friesian cow, follicle, IGF-1, insulin, growth hormone, FSH

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