Nutrient Restriction Effects on Ovulatory Follicle and Corpus Luteum Development and Progesterone Production of Bos taurus Cows

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Virginia Tech


Establishment and maintenance of pregnancy is a central concern to the cattle industry, as it strongly impacts efficiency and profitability of beef cow-calf operations. The objective of this study was to determine if nutrient restriction impacts ovulatory follicle size and corpus luteum (CL) development and function of Bos taurus cows enrolled in estrous synchronization. A total of 26 Angus cows were housed in a facility equipped with a Calan gate system for individual animal intake. Cows were stratified by body weight (BW), and randomly assigned one of two nutritional treatments: 1) 100% of nutrient requirements (MTN; n=13) or 2) 70% of nutrient requirements (REST; n=13). Individual daily intakes were measured and adjusted weekly based on BW. Cattle underwent an acclimation period of 14 days and were exposed to nutritional treatments for 30 days prior to estrous synchronization. Body weight was measured daily using an automated scale and a conventional livestock scale at the beginning and end of the experiment. Cows were synchronized using a 7-day CO-synch + CIDR protocol beginning on day -10. Ultrasonography of the ovaries was performed at each event of the estrous synchronization protocol on days -10, -3, 0, 5, and 7. Blood samples were taken on days -10, -3, and daily from day 0 through 7 to observe changes in progesterone (P4). Data were analyzed as repeated measures using the MIXED procedure of SAS. Initial BW tended to differ between treatments (P = 0.07; MTN 597 ± 32 kg, REST 604 ± 32 kg), but MTN had greater final BW (P < 0.001; 687 ± 24 and 556 ± 27 kg, respectively) and greater average daily gain (1.35 ± 0.18 and -0.72 ± 0.21 kg/d, respectively, P < 0.001) than REST. Diameter of the largest follicle was similar (P = 0.851) between treatments at CIDR insertion (12.6 ± 0.6 mm) and CIDR removal (12.9 ± 0.4 mm) but was greater (P < 0.05) for MTN than REST cows at 60 hrs after CIDR removal (14.01 ± 0.6 and 12.37 ± 0.5 mm, respectively). Volume of CL was similar (P > 0.1) at 5 (3211 ± 113 mm3) and 7 (5280.3 ± 212 mm3) days after ovulation. Concentration of P4 did not differ on days -10, -3, or 0-5. However, on days 6 and 7, P4 was greater (P < 0.05) for MTN than REST (2.07 ± 0.15 and 1.65 ± 0.15, and 2.27 ± 0.15 and 1.83 ± 0.15 ng/mL, respectively). In conclusion, nutrient restriction to 70% of maintenance during estrous synchronization negatively affects diameter of the ovulatory follicle and circulating P4, but it did not affect CL volume in multiparous Bos taurus beef cows.



Bovine, reproduction, follicle, corpus luteum, progesterone