• Effect of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation and post-insemination plane of nutrition on systemic concentrations of metabolic analytes, progesterone, hepatic gene expression and embryo development and survival in beef heifers

      Doyle, D. N.; Lonergan, P.; Diskin, Michael G.; Pierce, K.M.; Kelly, Alan K; STANTON, CATHERINE; Waters, Sinead M.; Parr, M. H.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-12-26)
      Nutrition, and particularly dietary energy intake, plays a fundamental role in reproductive function in cattle. There is some evidence that supplemental omega-3 dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) can exert positive effects on fertility. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of dietary n-3 PUFA supplementation, post-insemination energy plane of nutrition and their interaction on embryo survival in cattle. Crossbred beef heifers (n = 185) were individually offered barley straw ad libitum and 6 kg DM of concentrate supplemented with either a rumen-protected source of saturated fatty acid (palmitic; control, CON) or a partially rumen-protected n-3 PUFA-enriched supplement (n-3 PUFA). Estrous was synchronised using two injections of PG administered at 11-d intervals and following artificial insemination (AI = Day 0) 179 heifers exhibiting oestrus were inseminated and assigned to one of two dietary treatments: (i) remain on their pre-insemination high dietary plane of nutrition (High) or (ii) restricted to 0.6 × estimated maintenance energy requirements (Low) in a 2 × 2 factorial design. The heifers were then maintained on their assigned diets until slaughter and embryo recovery on Day 16 (n = 92) or pregnancy diagnosis by ultrasound scanning at Day 30 post-AI (n = 87). Plasma concentrations of fatty acids, metabolites, insulin, progesterone (P4) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) were measured at appropriate intervals. Hepatic expression of mRNA for aldo-keto reductase (AKR1C), cytochrome P450 2C (CYP 2C) and cytochrome P450 3A (CYP 3A) was examined. The n-3 PUFA supplementation increased plasma n-3 PUFA concentration (P < 0.05) and reduced n-6: n-3 PUFA ratio (P < 0.05). Plasma IGF-1 was higher for n-3 PUFA relative to the CON (P < 0.05) and for High compared with Low plane of nutrition post-AI (P < 0.05) groups. A low plane of nutrition post-AI increased plasma concentrations of progesterone from Days 7–16 after insemination (P < 0.001) but reduced embryo length (P < 0.001). Supplementation with n-3 PUFA reduced and tended to reduce hepatic expression of CYP2C (P = 0.01) and CYP3A (P = 0.08), respectively. However, while dietary n-3 PUFA supplementation and an abrupt reduction in nutrient status following insemination elevated plasma concentrations of n-3 PUFA and mid and late phase P4, respectively, there was no effect of either PUFA supplementation or post-insemination plane of nutrition on embryo survival.
    • Effects of lipid-encapsulated conjugated linoleic acid supplementation on milk production, bioenergetic status and indicators of reproductive performance in lactating dairy cows

      Hutchinson, Ian A.; de Veth, Michael J.; STANTON, CATHERINE; Dewhurst, Richard J.; Lonergan, P.; Evans, A.C.O.; Butler, Stephen; National Development Plan Ireland (Cambridge University Press: Published for the Institute of Food Research and the Hannah Research Institute, 2011-07)
      Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduces mammary milk fat synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. Our objective was to determine the effects of lipid-encapsulated CLA (LE-CLA) supplementation on milk production, reproductive performance and metabolic responses in lactating dairy cows fed a grass silage-based diet. Seventy-two Holstein-Friesian cows (32 primiparous and 40 multiparous) were used in a completely randomized block design. Cows received either 80 g of LE-CLA daily or 60 g of calcium salts of palm fatty acids daily (control) from parturition until 60 days in milk. LE-CLA contained a 50:50 mix of cis-9,trans-11 CLA and trans-10,cis-12 CLA, resulting in a daily intake of 6 g of each isomer. Milk production and dry matter intake were recorded daily, and blood samples were collected 3-times a week. Blood samples were analysed for circulating concentrations of glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). Progesterone was measured in blood samples collected after the first post-partum insemination. Ovarian ultrasound examinations commenced at 8–10 d post partum and were carried out 3-times a week until first ovulation. LE-CLA treatment resulted in decreased milk fat concentration, with consequent improvements in energy balance and body condition score (BCS). The peak concentration of NEFA in blood was reduced by LE-CLA, but circulating concentrations of insulin, glucose, IGF-I, BHBA and progesterone were not affected. There was no effect of LE-CLA supplementation on the post-partum interval to first ovulation. Services per conception tended to be reduced. The reduction in milk energy output and improvement in energy status and BCS in LE-CLA-supplemented cows provides a strong rationale for further studies with greater cow numbers to test effects on reproductive performance.
    • Low numbers of ovarian follicles ≥3 mm in diameter are associated with low fertility in dairy cows

      Mossa, F.; Walsh, S.W.; Butler, Stephen T.; Berry, Donagh; Carter, F.; Lonergan, P.; Smith, G.W.; Ireland, J.J.; Evans, A.C.O. (American Dairy Science Association, 2012-05-01)
      The total number of ovarian follicles ≥3 mm in diameter (antral follicle count, AFC) during follicular waves varies among cattle of similar age, but AFC is highly repeatable within individuals. We hypothesized that lower AFC could be associated with reduced fertility in cattle. The AFC was assessed by ultrasonography for 2 d consecutively during the first wave of follicular growth of the estrous cycle, 4.6 ± 1.43 d (mean ± SD) after estrus, in 306 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows approximately 70 d postpartum. Cows were classified into 3 groups based on AFC: low (AFC ≤15), intermediate (AFC = 16 to 24), and high (AFC ≥25). During the cycle in which AFC was assessed and in subsequent cycles, cows were artificially inseminated (AI) following detection of estrus, and pregnancy status was assessed using ultrasonography. Cows with high AFC had 3.34 times greater odds of being pregnant at the end of the breeding season compared with cows with low AFC; the odds of a successful pregnancy at first service were 1.75 times greater in the intermediate compared with the low group. The predicted probability of a successful pregnancy by the end of the breeding period (length of breeding season was 86 ± 16.3 d) was 94, 88, and 84% for the high, intermediate, and low AFC groups, respectively. No difference was evident among groups in 21-d submission rate (proportion of all cows detected in estrus and submitted for AI in the first 21 d of the breeding season), but the interval from calving to conception was shorter in the high (109.5 ± 5.1 d) versus low (117.1 ± 4 d) group, and animals with intermediate AFC received fewer services during the breeding season (2.3 ± 0.1) compared with animals with low AFC (2.7 ± 0.1). Lactating cows with ≤15 ovarian follicles have lower reproductive performance compared with cows with higher numbers of follicles, but the existence of a positive association between high numbers of ovarian follicles and fertility is yet to be established.