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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Sep;90(9):4253-64.

Evaluation of the mechanism of action of conjugated linoleic acid isomers on reproduction in dairy cows.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401, USA.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the mechanism of action through which conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) beneficially affects reproduction. Lactating Holstein cows (n = 45, 20 +/- 1 DIM) were assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: 70 g/d of Ca salts of tallow (control); 63 g/d of lipid-encapsulated CLA providing 7.1 g/d of cis-9, trans-11 CLA and 2.4 g/d of trans-10, cis-12 CLA (CLA 75:25); or 76 g/d of lipid-encapsulated CLA providing 7.1 g/d each of cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 CLA (CLA 50:50). Supplements were top-dressed for 37 d, milk production and DMI were recorded daily, and blood samples were taken 3 times per week. At 30 +/- 3 DIM, ovulation was synchronized in all cows with a modified Ovsynch protocol, and on d 15 of the cycle cows received an oxytocin injection; blood samples were obtained frequently to measure 13,14 dihydro, 15-keto PGF2alpha. On d 16 of the cycle cows received a PGF2alpha injection and ovarian follicular aspiration was performed 54 h later. Follicular fluid was analyzed for fatty acids, progesterone, and estradiol. Endometrial biopsies were taken before and again near the end of the supplementation period for fatty acid analysis. The CLA resulted in decreased milk fat content of 14.1 and 6.1% at wk 5 of treatment of CLA 50:50 and CLA 75:25, respectively. There were no differences in energy balance or plasma nonesterified fatty acids; however, plasma IGF-I was greater in cows supplemented with CLA 50:50. The CLA isomers were not detectable in endometrial tissue, but cis-9, trans-11 CLA tended to be greater in follicular fluid of supplemented cows. Response to the oxytocin challenge was not different among treatments. Progesterone during the early luteal phase and the estradiol:progesterone ratio in follicular fluid tended to be greater in cows supplemented with CLA 50:50. Overall, these results indicate that short periods of CLA supplementation do not alter uterine secretion of PGF2alpha. The mechanism through which CLA affects reproduction may involve improved ovarian follicular steroidogenesis and increased circulating concentrations of IGF-I.

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