• Plane of nutrition before and after 6 months of age in Holstein-Friesian bulls: II. Effects on metabolic and reproductive endocrinology and identification of physiological markers of puberty and sexual maturation

      Byrne, Colin J; Fair, Seán; English, Anne-Marie; Urh, C.; Sauerwein, H.; Crowe, Mark A; Lonergan, P.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/116 (Elsevier, 2018-02-04)
      The aim of this study was (1) to examine the effect of plane of nutrition during the first and second 6 mo of life on systemic concentrations of reproductive hormones and metabolites in Holstein-Friesian dairy bulls, and (2) to establish relationships with age at puberty and postpubertal semen production potential. Holstein-Friesian bull calves (n = 83) with a mean (standard deviation) age and body weight of 17 (4.4) d and 52 (6.2) kg, respectively, were assigned to a high or low plane of nutrition for the first 6 mo of life. At 24 wk of age, bulls were reassigned, within treatment, either to remain on the same diet or to switch to the opposite diet until puberty, resulting in 4 treatment groups: high-high, high-low, low-low, and low-high. Monthly blood samples were analyzed for metabolites (albumin, urea, total protein, β-hydroxybutyrate, glucose, nonesterified fatty acid, triglycerides and creatinine), insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, leptin, adiponectin, FSH, and testosterone. A GnRH challenge was carried out at 16 and 32 wk of age (n = 9 bulls per treatment). Blood was collected at 15-min intervals for 165 min, with GnRH administered (0.05 mg/kg of body weight, i.v.) immediately after the third blood sample. Blood samples were subsequently analyzed for LH, FSH, and testosterone. Stepwise regression was used to detect growth and blood measurements to identify putative predictors of age at puberty and subsequent semen quality traits. Metabolic hormones and metabolites, in general, reflected metabolic status of bulls. Although FSH was unaffected by diet, it decreased with age both in monthly samples and following GnRH administration. Testosterone was greater in bulls on the high diet before and after 6 mo of age. Testosterone concentrations increased dramatically after 6 mo of age. Luteinizing hormone was unaffected by diet following GnRH administration but basal serum LH was greater in bulls on a high diet before 6 mo of age. In conclusion, the plane of nutrition offered before 6 mo of age influenced metabolic profiles, which are important for promoting GnRH pulsatility, in young bulls